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20-week isolation hubs "extreme scenario" to kickstart AFL season: McLachlan

Football

AFL boss Gillon McLachlan believes the prospect of players spending up to 20 weeks in isolation hubs has been overblown and it remains the “most extreme scenario”.

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Some players with young families have baulked at the prospect, but McLachlan believes the improving COVID-19 situation across the country will allow for the season to restart in easier circumstances.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will on Friday discuss plans with state and territory leaders for professional sport to resume amid the pandemic.

McLachlan is hopeful positive news will flow out of the National Cabinet meeting and cancel out the need for long-term stays in hubs.

“In the most extreme scenario, in various forms, that’s (20 weeks in hubs) an option but clearly in the same framework there’s the possibility borders are being open for fly in, fly out,” he told 3AW.

“If we end up having to be in high performance hubs for a period of time, all the feedback and all the consideration we’ll be taken into account and we’ll work through it.

“When people are at home and people are isolated and there’s not much else on you get big headlines, but we’ll work through it.”

McLachlan says whatever situation evolves, the AFL will return to play this year.

“The players genuinely want to play. There are individual circumstances coming out that are quite normal and natural,” he said.

“I feel very confident we’ll get there with a return-to-play set of protocols and the players are going to feel safe to play and their personal circumstances will able to be managed.

“This is going to be tough and to do their jobs, and to get this game away, people are going to have to make sacrifices.”

Players Association chief Paul Marsh also remains optimistic the AFL’s doomsday scenario of players won’t come to pass.

“We all understand that if the government restrictions change, and that could happen as early as today, then we’ll be looking at other potential options,” he said.

-AAP

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