AFL takes action over player's controversial 'virus' sledge

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Luke McDonald, pictured here appearing to sledge Conor McKenna about his virus scare.
Luke McDonald appeared to sledge Conor McKenna about his virus scare. Image: Getty/Fox Footy

The AFL will reportedly look into Luke McDonald’s actions towards Conor McKenna after he appeared to sledge the Essendon player about his recent coronavirus scare.

McDonald caused a stir in North Melbourne’s clash with Essendon on Saturday night when he was caught in a melee with McKenna.

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As McKenna came towards him McDonald covered his mouth and nose and turned his face away, appearing to mock the fact the Irishman recently tested positive for coronavirus.

The game was McKenna’s first since he tested positive last month.

McDonald’s actions didn’t sit well with many in the AFL world, and officials are now reportedly investigating.

According to The Age: “The league confirmed on Sunday that while McDonald's sledge would not be looked at under regular match review protocols, it would be probed on Monday as part of a broader review of the round's games.

AFL greats slam McDonald’s ‘embarrassing’ act

McKenna’s former teammate Brendon Goddard was among those to hit out at McDonald.

“Is he trying to sledge a bloke for potentially testing positive for a virus?” Goddard said on ABC Grandstand.

“It’s a bit of a dig at Luke and questioning his intelligence, but it’s kind of stupid in my opinion.

“I always thought good sledge was one with a little bit of wit, but to pot a bloke about potentially having a virus … in today’s climate?”

Luke McDonald, pictured here in action for North Melbourne against Essendon.
Luke McDonald in action for North Melbourne against Essendon. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Former Port Adelaide star Kane Cornes said McDonald’s actions were “not a good look” and said he felt “uneasy” watching it.

“I don’t expect a sanction, but I’d be a little bit embarrassed if I was Luke McDonald watching that vision back,” Cornes told AFL Media’s The Round So Far.

“I think just a ‘please explain’ (to the AFL is needed). I don’t think it’s worthy of a sanction, but it’s more the embarrassment of that being shown on shows like ours and across the weekend through no fault of Conor McKenna’s, really, that he’s contracted one of the most contagious viruses the world’s ever seen.”

Fans were also fuming on social media.

Meanwhile, McKenna is set for another frustrating stint on the sidelines after scans reportedly confirmed he broke a finger during his AFL comeback.

McKenna suffered the injury during Saturday night's 14-point win over North Melbourne.

According to the AFL website, the 23-year-old might need surgery to fix the fracture.

with AAP