Essendon teammates learn fate after Conor McKenna virus case

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor
Conor McKenna (second from left) trains with some Essendon teammates. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Essendon have been told only one other player has been deemed a ‘close contact’ of Conor McKenna following his positive test for coronavirus.

The entire Essendon playing list was tested at Marvel Stadium on Monday, with no other player of staff member returning a positive result.

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Fringe key forward James Stewart is the only other Bombers player, along with McKenna, who will now go into quarantine after a ruling from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Stewart, 26, missed almost all of the 2019 campaign with a groin injury and did not feature in the Bombers' opening two wins this year against Fremantle and Sydney.

There were fears the Bombers squad would be decimated as a result of McKenna’s positive test given he’d been training with the majority of the team’s back-line.

Essendon's first-choice back-line of Adam Saad, Cale Hooker, Michael Hurley, Matt Guelfi, Jordan Ridley and Mason Redman are reportedly in McKenna's training group.

However they will now be able to field a close to full-strength side for their clash with Carlton on Saturday.

The AFL was thrown into chaos on Saturday after McKenna’s positive coronavirus test, postponing Essendon’s Sunday clash with Melbourne.

Health authorities have been examining training footage given to them by Essendon to decide what players will need to join McKenna in isolating.

James Stewart will also be required to go into quarantine. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

AFL bans full-contact training sessions

Full-contact training has since been banned at all clubs by the AFL in response to McKenna's test result and with COVID-19 cases continuing to increase at concerning levels in Victoria.

Clubs will be permitted to continue contact training in groups of up to nine, and larger groups can still conduct ball movement drills without contact.

St Kilda coach Brett Ratten said the AFL had a duty to keep the season going despite Essendon's tricky predicament.

“It's a disadvantage for Essendon, but we can't stop the games, need to keep them going,” he told Fox Footy.

“For the Bombers it might not be perfect, but they might find themselves one, two, or three players out of that game and that might help them in the future.”

with AAP