Richmond Tigers coach Damien Hardwick wants season return date ASAP


“I can’t see us going into a three- or four-week training block to start the season.

“I think our players would [need] two weeks maybe and then get the game up and going.”

The AFL is considering all states and territories as possible bases for isolation hubs as it attempts to restart the season, which was put on hold last month.

Clubs would likely be kept in hubs for a minimum of six weeks, which could consist of a three-week training block and three weeks of matches.

Most states have already declared their interest in hosting a hub, with Queensland firming as a potential base after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced on Sunday some restrictions would be eased from May 2.

“I think we just want to get the game up and going and we’re prepared to do [anything],” Hardwick said of the prospect of moving his team interstate for an extended period of time.

“This is me speaking. We haven’t had the real conversation with our players as such because a lot will depend on the AFLPA and their decision-making.”

AFL boss Gillon McLachlan has told clubs he will be in a position to announce plans for the competition on May 11.

It is in contrast to the rival NRL’s timeline, with rugby league’s premier competition set to resume on May 28.

Hardwick applauded the NRL’s “aspirational-type leadership” in setting a return date but said he understood why the AFL was yet to follow suit.

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“As soon as we get that date, that will make things a lot easier and give us a lot more certainty to plan for that,” Hardwick said.

“That’s the one thing we haven’t got at the moment and that’s really challenging from a mental aspect.

“We’re working heavily with the government and the AFL are doing a great job in making sure that the environment is safe.

“But from a coaching and playing point of view, we’d love a date as soon as possible. That way we can get started.”

AAP

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