AFL players aware hub return a possibility

·2-min read

Western Bulldogs captain Marcus Bontempelli believes AFL players would be prepared to go back into hubs if required amid Melbourne's latest coronavirus outbreak.

With the number and spread of exposure sites around the city growing rapidly, including the MCG, Essendon, Carlton and Hawthorn, who play interstate this weekend, have been prompted to make early dashes out of Victoria.

Essendon flew to Perth on Wednesday morning, with Carlton travelling to Sydney on Wednesday afternoon while Hawthorn plan to fly to Darwin early on Thursday.

Bontempelli said players hoped the situation didn't reach a point where large-scale relocations like those in 2020 were necessary, but were aware it could become a possibility.

"I think we would be (prepared to go into hubs)," Bontempelli told reporters on Wednesday morning.

"You understand the landscape and clearly it's a somewhat ever-changing environment and knowing that (going into hubs) is always a chance, depending on how things look and feel.

"I think everyone's fingers (are) crossed that we don't get to that point but clearly if that becomes something we need to consider, the right discussions will be had and obviously we need to go through the right things, but we know they do move quickly.

"So, in the back of everyone's mind, they probably are aware that (hubs) may potentially be something we have to move to.

"But ... for right now, hopefully we can get a handle on the current environment."

The Bulldogs players and staff had coronavirus tests on Tuesday morning and had to self-isolate after a staff member visited Highpoint shopping centre when it was a coronavirus exposure site.

On Wednesday, the Bulldogs confirmed all those tests came back negative.

Bontempelli expected players to adapt to having to cut back on social activities amid the outbreak, having previously worked under stricter protocols than the general public.

On Wednesday afternoon, it was confirmed the nine Melbourne-based clubs, as well as Geelong, will now face new restrictions for at least the next seven days.

Players and staffers are recommended to only leave their homes for playing, training and essentials.

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