The following is the official AFL statement, released on the www.afl.com.au website regarding the season restart date and the conditions around the restart on and off the field. This positive move will also be the catalyst for footy returning at all levels – grassroots through to nation and eventually international.
The AFL has today announced that clubs will return to training on Monday, May 18 and the 2020 Toyota AFL Premiership season will resume on Thursday, June 11.
Players and football department officials will return to clubs on Monday, with clubs completing a 3.5 week training block before matches officially restart.
Clubs will initially train in maximum groups of eight, before resuming full contact training from Monday, May 25.
All players and returning football department staff will have been tested for Covid-19 prior to returning to the club and undergone education sessions on the protocols they will need to follow, including rigorous ongoing screening and regular testing, throughout both the training and return to play period. This will also apply for umpires and AFL Match day staff once the season resumes.
In spite of the hard times going on around them, the Houston Lonestars from Texas have put together their own video clip showing club members staying in touch with the footy and each other as they negotiate COVID-19. Not only does the clip feature some unexpected footage from The Cattery down at Geelong, keep your eyes open for a "Cat Cameo".
Well done Houston Lonestars and thank you on behalf of the entire footy community worldwide.
The following article by Callum Twomey at the www.afl.com.au website looks at recent comments made by Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley, which cast doubt on the future of international recruits and the recruiting process for talent from alternative catchments.
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley says clubs may not have the resources to look abroad for players
DESPITE the Mason Cox success story, Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley has forecast international rookies to be a 'casualty' of the AFL's COVID-19 fallout.
Cox has been one of the shining category B rookie stories in recent times, with the American ruckman/forward proving to be a key member of the Magpies' side.
Collingwood has also two Irish players currently on its list – Mark Keane and Anton Tohill – having had a strong history in the region, including former star defender Marty Clarke.
When Port Adelaide Powers’ president David Koch loosely indicated last week that the AFL’s China experiment may be over, the theory became the catalyst for some lively debate in recent days.
When interviewed by The Adelaide Advertiser, Koch did not say that the experiment was over. However, he did express doubt over Port Adelaide’s role in future Chinese fixtures.
He told the newspaper, ““I’ve actually got no idea (how that will look)…We will discuss with the AFL, State and Federal governments and our partners who support us in China about the future of it.”
He went on to add, ““Our whole China strategy originally was not predicated on having a game. We’ll have to assess that coming out (of the pandemic) but at the moment, in terms of priorities, it’s not a massive priority for us to make a decision on.
The Leeside Lions, one of the AFL Ireland clubs in hiatus due to COVID-19, have shown the world a way out by adroitly combining social-distancing with football skills. The following clip from the Cork-based club showcases a range of talents and proves footy can still move forward despite current challenges to the game. Our thanks to the Leeside Lions for sharing.
Michael Gallus is known to many people in the footy world as the founder of the Footys4all Foundation in Australia, an organisation in Australia that distributes donated sporting equipment to kids in need the world over. He is also an ardent Carlton supporter.
Recently, he took on the challenge of putting out the rubbish by dressing his wheelie bin as Graeme "Jerker" Jenkin, the Collingwood ruckman used by Alex Jesaulenko to take the "Mark of the Year" in the 1970 VFL Grand Final. Here is his attempt to recreate a part of footy folklore.
Across Europe, clubs, leagues and governing bodies are gradually preparing for football after the COVID-19 threat has eased sufficiently to consider resuming training and matches. The situation is different for each nation, and subsequently for the leagues and clubs in those nations, and AFL Switzerland has already announced its plans for a return to the playing fields.
In a message to all players, officials and teams across Switzerland, the national league has released the blueprint for the remainder of the 2020 season.
Initially conceding the round of matches (originally Round 2) on 9th May in Zurich, most of the remainder of the original season is intact. With a rider that things could change should the nations recovery from the disease be slowed, the league proposes the following.
As the United States of America struggles with the devastation wrought by COVID-19, all facets of community are still looking ahead to life beyond the virus. The USAFL also has its eyes on a future after coronavirus and a new update from the USAFL Executive Board to club presidents addresses their vision and steps required to get there.
The following excerpts from the release paint a hopeful picture, whilst acknowledging that much has to yet happen in the nation with regard to control of the disease, including eradication, and that the situation is still evolving on a daily basis.
“We are still hoping that we will be able to play tournament footy within the coming months. Therefore, our current plan is for the USAFL to support and promote smaller local tournaments, once it is safe and permitted to do so, later in the summer and fall.”
Whilst the AFL is yet to formally state how and when the AFL season can restart after the enforced season postponement due to COVID-19, two northern cities might be the keys to fast tracking a start date.
Darwin has emerged as a potential location for a player hub (where all teams would be based for a set period of time to play out rounds) with its potential to have matches played in front of crowds as early as June. Cairns has also emerged as a potential hub for matches and teams with AFL Cairns having confirmed its interest in playing that role.
Both cities possess multiple venues, milder winter conditions than the colder southern states, strong following of the game and, most importantly, have low cases of COVID-19. The Northern Territory had recorded just 28 cases, whilst Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service had reported 33 cases. Both figures are extremely low compared to the major Australian cities.
Discussions that have been raging already, and are now accelerating, regarding size of player lists, player payments and the impacts on rookie-listed players are the focus of Marc McGowan’s latest story on the www.afl.com.au website.
The issues being raised may yet have a huge impact on how clubs look at recruiting international players to their lists, with players from Ireland and the United States impacted as well as potential newer markets
CLUBS remain in the dark about where – or if – Category B rookies will fit into the potential new list structure from next year.
As AFL.com.au reported on Thursday, list and football bosses are generally accepting there will need to be reduced list sizes for 2021 but most are keen for a gradual rather than drastic cut.
The following exerts from Riley Beveridge’s article on the http://www.afl.com.au website look at a fifth ex-AFL player, former Saint Arryn Siposs, making the transition to the NFL in the United States.
Whilst there is an increasing number of players from Australian Football backgrounds finding success in American Football, such as Nik Constantinou From Australian Rules Footy To American Football, only a handful of athletes can claim to have played both AFL and NFL.
According to Beveridge, “Former St Kilda forward Arryn Siposs is on the verge of becoming the fifth ex-AFL player to realise his NFL dream, signing as an undrafted free agent to the Detroit Lions on Sunday morning.”
If you are like me, you are missing your footy fix. Yes, there are countless replays on television. Yes, there are games that can be purchased and played from the bedroom. Yes, there are books to read, videos to watch, footy cards to collect and lots more.
However, sometimes you want something more tactile. More hands on. Something you control.
So, here is something from my childhood that might come in handy. I didn’t invent it. My grandfather showed me how to do this – something he picked up during the war years in the 40’s and passed on to me. Pencil footy.
If interested in a new (yet old) way of passing these COVID days waiting for the AFL to come back, or your local team to start playing again, follow these step by step instructions. I will also put the photo at the end of the article also to enlarge.