'Get on with it': AFL great hits out at Patrick Dangerfield criticism

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor
Matthew Lloyd (R) has questioned Patrick Dangerfield's comments. Image: Getty

Matthew Lloyd has criticised Patrick Dangerfield for questioning the AFL’s centralised ‘hub’ plan as a realistic way of restarting the 2020 season.

The plan is one of at least 10 scenarios the league is looking at as it tries to emerge from the financially disastrous coronavirus shutdown.

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It was reported on the league's official website on Tuesday that AFL boss Gillon McLachlan has sent a memo to clubs which includes his intention to have a return-to-play strategy by the end of the month.

Under the ‘hub’ plan, teams would be put in quarantined environments to play round-robin matches if government restrictions due to coronavirus are eased and football is cleared to resume in certain states.

But AFL Players’ Association president and Geelong superstar Dangerfield said he has serious doubts about whether the plans made public in recent days could work.

“How realistic that is, I think speculative at best,” Dangerfield told SEN on Tuesday.

“We've said we'll do what we can as players.

“I think you'd find you'd have players that would be more than willing to do that and you'll have some that would be vehemently opposed.

“I know these are desperate times but we've also got to be measured in our response to this.”

Matthew Lloyd critical of Dangerfield

But on Footy Classified on Wednesday night, Essendon great Lloyd wondered whether Dangerfield was representing the wishes of his fellow players or himself.

“I look at it and I know Patrick’s got a very young family and he’s open to his opinion on it, (but) sometimes I ask the question ‘who’s he speaking for’? Is it in his role as president of the player? Or is it him as a Geelong footballer?” Lloyd said.

“It sounded like it was his own personal opinion there.

“They’re going to have 10 weeks with their families that they never would’ve got otherwise, so I think they just have to get on with it.

“If the hubs come in and they say you’ve got to go for four or five weeks, you’ve just got to do it because it’s getting the game going.”

Players boss stands by Dangerfield

However Players Association boss Paul Marsh backed Dangerfield.

“I think Patrick does a fantastic job for all the players. I think he will often take positions that may not line up with his own views but he knows the role he’s got,” Marsh told Footy Classified.

“He’s highly respected by the playing group so I think it’s a difficult job at times because you are wearing two hats and you are allowed to have your own opinions as well as representing the views of collective group.”

Dangerfield's former Adelaide teammate Taylor Walker was also sceptical of the ‘hub’ plan.

"I reckon if you went and had six teams in one hub, if the coronavirus did happen to get inside it would spread quite quickly and it'd get across six teams," Walker told Triple M on Tuesday.

Dangerfield added it was important the AFL set the right example for the rest of the community.

“Round one was a good example of the angst that playing created,” he said.

“To do something like that whilst everyone else is still in lockdown, there would need to be a huge amount of thought go into it.

“I'm not sure how comfortable I would be with it.”

with AAP