League’s drastic step to keep AFLW season alive

COVID-19 abruptly ended one AFLW season and is threatening to up-end the current one. Here’s the latest drastic step being considered to keep the campaign going.

AFLW captains met with AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan and women’s football boss Nicole Livingston via video link on Friday as teams brace to relocate interstate to complete the season.

COVID-19-related border closures continue to pose a problem for AFLW fixturing, but the AFL is intent on finding a way to play all scheduled matches.

The Herald Sun understands the plan is to release the round five fixture as soon as this weekend and any interstate relocation wouldn’t be until at least the week after next.

SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE AFLW ROUND 4 NEWS AND TIPS

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All players were surveyed this week on the conditions involved in a temporary interstate move, including a compensatory package for not being able to work and other expenses, such as day care for children.

It’s believed discussions are centred on AFLW footballers receiving a uniform $200-a-day stipend, while any other essential expenses would be covered as well.

This payment would be on top of their contracted salary.

Any potential interstate move would not be a strict hub situation, with players and officials instead simply abiding by that state’s coronavirus laws.

The conditions involved in Greater Western Sydney’s brief Adelaide stay in January – required for the Giants to be able to enter Western Australia – will serve as a precedent for other AFLW clubs.

Livingstone told the Herald Sun that league headquarters continued to work closely with the AFL Players’ Association and AFLW players “to ensure the best possible outcome”.

“The health and welfare of our players and the community remains the priority and we remain committed to delivering a season in a safe manner, led by the advice of public health officials and medical experts,” she said.

Livingstone said there were “unique challenges” because of the COVID-19 pandemic and thanked the players and staff for their adaptability.

“What we know is the situation with COVID continues to change week by week and so our role is to ensure we have done our due diligence and planned for all potential scenarios,” she said.

“This involves continually keeping clubs updated of any developments to ensure best-practice operational plans and wellbeing support are in place for all players and the broader club.

“Where clubs are required to relocate, the AFL and the AFLPA have agreed on a payment model for players.”

AFLW ROUND 4 TIPS

Ellie Blackburn 17

St Kilda

Carlton

Fremantle

Collingwood

Brisbane Lions

Western Bulldogs

GWS Giants

Last Week 5

Glenn McFarlane 17

St Kilda 19

Carlton 25

Fremantle 21

North Melbourne 8

Brisbane 10

Melbourne 12

GWS Giants 9

Last Week 5

Matt Turner 17

St Kilda 11

Carlton 17

Fremantle 34

Collingwood 18

Adelaide 7

Western Bulldogs 11

GWS Giants 21

Last Week 5

Rebecca Williams 17

St Kilda 8

Carlton 12

Fremantle 15

North Melbourne 7

Brisbane Lions 8

Melbourne 6

GWS Giants 7

Last Week 5

Chris Cavanagh 16

St Kilda 12

Carlton 12

Fremantle 24

North Melbourne 6

Brisbane Lions 6

Melbourne 6

GWS Giants 6

Last Week 5

Kate Salemme 16

St Kilda 28

Carlton 18

Fremantle 40

North Melbourne 2

Brisbane Lions 15

GWS Giants 14

Last Week 5

Liz Walsh 16

St Kilda 18

Carlton 21

Fremantle 45

North Melbourne 6

Adelaide 1

Melbourne 12

GWS Giants 14

Last Week 5

Daniel Andrews 15

St Kilda 5

Carlton 10

Fremantle 20

North Melbourne 10

Brisbane Lions 5

Melbourne 20

GWS Giants 25

Last Week 4

Ebony Marinoff 15

St Kilda

Carlton

Fremantle

Collingwood

Adelaide

Melbourne

GWS Giants

Last Week 3

Kate McCarthy 15

St Kilda

Carlton

Fremantle

North Melbourne

Brisbane Lions

Melbourne

West Coast

Last Week 3

Michael O’Brien 15

St Kilda 15

Carlton 18

Fremantle 34

North Melbourne 23

Brisbane Lions 11

Melbourne 6

GWS Giants 17

Last Week 6

Mark Robinson 15

St Kilda 13

Carlton 26

Fremantle 30

North Melbourne 3

Adelaide 11

Melbourne 8

West Coast 1

Last Week 5

Sarah Jones 12

St Kilda 17

Carlton 13

Fremantle 15

North Melbourne 1

Brisbane Lions 11

Melbourne 10

GWS Giants 5

Last Week 5

Darcy Vescio 11

St Kilda

Carlton

Fremantle

Collingwood

Brisbane Lions

Western Bulldogs

GWS Giants

Last Week 4

Kiss of Death 4

Geelong 13

Richmond 13

Gold Coast 13

Collingwood 13

Adelaide 13

Western Bulldogs 13

West Coast 13

Last Week 2

HEARTBREAKING BLOW COULD END DEMON’S CAREER

Injury-plagued Melbourne defender Shae Sloane has had her AFLW season wiped out after rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament for the third time.

The sister of Adelaide captain Rory injured her knee during a training session at Gosch’s Paddock on Saturday morning.

Scans confirmed the 28 year old’s worst fears on Sunday afternoon.

“It was really an innocuous incident, whereby Shae simply went to change direction, and her left knee just gave way,” Melbourne’s general manager of AFLW Daniel McPherson said.

The Demons defeated the highly rated North Melbourne outfit by nine points at Casey Fields on Saturday afternoon.

Sloane, a former volleyball player who joined Melbourne as a rookie, tore her right ACL during her 2019 debut and then suffered another tear during a training session 10 months later.

She had made her return to the competition this year.

“It’s always devastating to see someone suffer an ACL injury, but when it happens to someone like Shae, who has done such an amazing job to get herself back to be so close to returning to play, it’s just heartbreaking,” McPherson said.

“Shae will take the time over the next few days to work through with our medical team the best course of action for her from here.”

Pies make pledge on indigenous guernsey

– Liz Walsh

Collingwood has revealed its AFLW team will wear its Indigenous jumper for all its away games this season.

The team wore the guernsey – designed by Ross Morgan Senior and his sons – on Sunday in their 17-point win over Richmond and will continue to wear it for all away games in 2021.

The jumper’s design tells the story of the Cummeragunja Walk Off, which was a protest by Aboriginal people at Cummeragunja Station in 1939 about poor treatment.

The walk off is remembered as an act of strength and resilience.

Magpie and proud Ningy Ningy woman Aliesha Newman said it was a great honour to be able to wear the guernsey throughout the season, particularly as the club looks to do better after the recent release of a report showing “systemic racism” at the club.

“All of our players – AFL, netball and AFLW – we want to acknowledge the fact that it has happened and then spark a healthy conversation around what needs to be done next … and really showing the greater population that Collingwood isn’t a racist club, because that’s not something I want to be part of,” Newman said.

For the first time in AFLW history, the league will hold a dedicated Indigenous Round, slated for Round 5.

“The significance of having a fully fixtured Indigenous Round this year, is really exciting and the fact that Collingwood are able to wear our indigenous jumper for every away game just showcases how much this round and this jumper means to us,” Newman said.

“It also shows the league itself is starting to evolve.”

The jumper design includes the long-necked turtle, which is the totem of the Yorta Yorta people, while diamonds down the front represent the strength and resilience of the ancestors and elders

AFLW DODGES HUBS FOR ROUND 4 FIXTURE

The AFL has shunned a hub for the women’s competition and is instead adopting more a fly-in/fly-out model for Round 4 as it deals with a COVID-19 outbreak in Melbourne.

The AFL announced its fixture for the next games on Sunday afternoon, with Victorian teams continuing to play each other, while the non-Victorians will fly around the country.

Fremantle left Perth on Friday with enough luggage for at least two weeks on the road, but instead were informed by the AFL after their 30-point win over Adelaide on Sunday that they will instead head back to their home state and prepare to face Gold Coast at home on Saturday.

The AFL has shunned a hub to ensure minimal disruption for the players across the league.

Meanwhile, St Kilda will open the round by taking on Geelong at home on Friday night, before Carlton faces Richmond at home on Saturday, and the Kangaroos taking on Collingwood in a blockbuster at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night.

On Sunday, the Crows are back on the road, this time heading to Hickey Park to take on Brisbane, the Western Bulldogs will face Melbourne and Greater Western Sydney will host West Coast.

Fremantle coach Trent Cooper said his side arrived in Adelaide on Friday prepared to play three games on the road, most likely hubbed in Queensland and was shocked they weren’t.

“I have to get my head around it, we were more than happy to play our block away here, and we’d planned for that … I trust the AFL will be doing the right thing and thinking further ahead to make sure we’re getting the season away,” he said.

“The (players will) just roll with the punches; that’s what we saw in the men’s comp, that those sides who took on the challenges the best, were the ones who performed the best and we want to make sure we don’t have anything outside of our control influence the way we play.”

Crows coach Matthew Clarke was pleased to stick to a fly-in/fly-out model.

“In a semi-professional environment with players who have jobs and other employers that they need to look after, so as much as possible we can fly-in/fly-out will be to the betterment,” he said.

“If we could avoid (hubs) it would be great, but ultimately it may well be part of the season.”

AFL’s head of women’s footy Nicole Livingstone said the league would continue to take the advice of governments and health officials as it worked through the upcoming rounds.

“We will continue to remain adaptable as we listen to and work closely with each stakeholder to ensure the best possible outcome for everyone in the game,” she said.

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