'Now is not the time': AFL coach's classy call for unity

Geelong coach Chris Scott feels now is the time for camaraderie rather than queries and critique, noting the AFL has "about 500 things" more important to deal with than the prospect of shifting games to GMHBA Stadium.

The Cats suffered a 32-point loss in their season-opening clash with GWS and next face Gold Coast at GMHBA, where Scott is hopeful off-season recruit Jack Steven will make his club debut.

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It's entirely possible the entire season will be played behind closed doors because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It has raised the question as to whether the Cats should host Hawthorn on Easter Monday at their true home, rather than the MCG as per the original fixture.

"I hope so. We love playing in Geelong," Scott said, having opened his post-match press conference with a plea for unity.

"But the guys at headquarters have about 500 things more important than that right at the moment.

"I don't think we'll be getting on the phone and asking if it's OK if we play a few more games at GMHBA."

Scott ordinarily views debate as healthy and is happy to offer a forthright opinion on many topics.

But after an initial delay, caused by discussions as to whether dictaphones were allowed on Scott's table given coronavirus restrictions, his chief concern while speaking to reporters was to stress "this is a time for a bit of empathy".

Chris Scott has called for unity amid the COVID-19 crisis. Pic: Getty

"I've been one who has been critical of them (AFL) at times and asked questions," he said.

"Now is not the time to question why, let's get into line ... it is a fight and the whole world is in this together.

"Our job is to support the people at AFL headquarters who are doing a great job trying to navigate their way through this bizarre situation.

‘Just do as we're told’

"There are some people in charge, not only at the AFL level but government level around the world, who have a really hard job to do.

"This is one of the rare occasions when we should criticise less. Ask fewer questions and just do as we're told."

Scott suggested the health crisis will affect teams slightly differently.

Travel is one obvious example; Geelong's path to Giants Stadium involved two airports, a hotel and obviously a degree more trepidation than GWS given current the importance of self-isolation in the current climate.

"It was slightly more difficult but it wasn't the reason we lost," he said.

"The travel this week for this game, if you think that's a challenge then you're going to be ill equipped to deal with the next month or so.

"We will stick together and help each other through it."

Fellow coach calls out inconsistencies around COVID-19

Scott's comments are in contrast to Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge, who hit out at the inconsistencies around COVID-19 in the game.

The AFL has decided to push on with its season, albeit with fewer games and reduced 16 minute quarters.

However, it still means that for any given match, players are tackling and grabbing at one another for more than an hour of play.

The AFL's safety protocols around coronavirus have been heavily scrutinised. Pic: Getty

Yet traditional practices such as handshakes, 'high-fives' and team songs with players arm-in-arm have been banned - a contradiction Beveridge finds baffling.

"You can't have your cake and eat it too," Beveridge said.

"If we're playing, we're playing. We can't then be saying don't sing the song with your arms around each other.

"If you're playing, the assumption is that everyone who is playing hasn't got the virus. That's the assumption.

"If you're bumping each other, tackling each other, flying against each other and hitting each other, I reckon that's a lot worse than singing a song with your arms around each other.

With Yahoo Sport Staff