Lead-in training time of at least three weeks vital to standard of AFL games after coronavirus shutdown, says Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley


“You are going to get athletes that are sore and you will lose guys [to injury].

“We’ve got to get a season out, there’s no doubt, but we might as well try and get a quality season out.

Collingwood’s Steele Sidebottom trains in a Melbourne park. Pies coach Nathan Buckley wants as much lead-in time as possible ahead of an AFL return.Credit:AAP

“You might as well get the best that you can get out.”

Buckley said that meant at least three weeks of unrestricted training, which has been termed “level C” under the government’s return-to-sport framework.

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“If time allows, and I think it does, a couple of weeks at that level with that up to 10 [person limit] and three [weeks] at level C,” he said.

“If it came in at level C straight away then three weeks, four weeks might be enough.

“But I believe that slowly ramping it up or more gradually ramping it up is going to be important to actually look after the players and still get the product out at the end.”

AFL clubs are hopeful they will not be required to enter quarantine hubs in order to restart the season.

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But Buckley said nothing could be taken for granted in an unpredictable environment as the AFL continues to work with government and health authorities in plotting its path forward.

“We can’t assume that the way things are today are the way that they are going to be,” Buckley said.

“This thing [the virus] has not been predictable, it has not been linear.

“We think we’ve got a handle on it now but we do talk about a second wave or losing control of it again at some point and I think that’s probably a reality.”

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