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Matthew Nicks to miss Blues clash

Football

UPDATED | Adelaide Crows mentor Matthew Nicks joins the growing list of AFL coaches forced to miss a game this year after contracting COVID, with senior assistant Scott Burns to lead the 12th-placed team for its weekend match against Carlton.

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The club today confirmed the third-year coach would miss Sunday’s game “after being placed under the AFL’s Health and Safety Protocols”, with Burns to step up in his place.

Nicks joins a long list of AFL coaches to miss games because of COVID this year: Simon Goodwin missed last weekend’s Melbourne win, while Carlton’s Michael Voss, Essendon’s Ben Rutten, Fremantle’s Justin Longmuir and St Kilda’s Brett Ratten have all sat out matches.

Bizarrely, each of their sides has a winning record in their absence.

Scott Burns will coach the Crows this week. Photo: Michael Errey / InDaily

Crows head of football Adam Kelly said in a statement the situation was “not ideal” but the club was “fortunate to have an experienced and versatile coaching panel”.

“Importantly, Matthew is feeling okay, though he is obviously disappointed that he won’t be with the team on Sunday,” Kelly said.

“We have planned for this scenario and remain focussed on delivering a strong performance this weekend.”

The club said no other players or coaches were affected “at this stage”.

With the AFL battling a fresh wave of COVID-19 infections, West Coast coach Adam Simpson – along with eight of his players – and three members of St Kilda’s football department are also out of action this weekend.

It comes a day after Fremantle’s outbreak grew to six players.

Former Essendon senior coach Matthew Knights will return to the top role in Simpson’s place for the Saturday night match against Brisbane at the ‘Gabba – little more than a week after the Eagles’ triple-figure loss to Richmond.

Amid the crisis, the AFL has given West Coast extra time to finalise their team as, once again, the club is forced to tap into their COVID-19 contingency list so they can field a team.

“As it stands we have 22 available AFL-listed players with the remainder either injured or in AFL health and safety protocols,” West Coast football manager Gavin Bell said.

“With Adam also being unable to coach this weekend, it is clearly unprecedented times.”

Matthew Knights is stepping in for Adam Simpson. Photo: Michael Errey / InDaily

Also on Thursday, Saints coach Brett Ratten said the virus had sidelined assistant coach Brendon Lade who filled in for him last month.

High performance staffers Nick Walsh and Marcus Krygger are also out of action for Sunday’s game against Melbourne, but assistant coach Corey Enright will be back after he was sidelined.

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