Port Adelaide legend Kane Cornes has ripped into Victoria's AFL clubs, describing their complaints about West Australian teams as an "absolute joke".
The AFL this week stepped in to prevent West Australian clubs training in larger groups following complaints from Victorian teams.
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It followed a move from WA premier Mark McGowan to lift the local limit on outdoor gatherings to 10 people after the state recorded a declining number of new COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.
The new rule for WA matches South Australia's limit and allowed both the Eagles and Fremantle to expand their training groups as the AFL edges closer to unveiling its plan to reboot the 2020 season.
Victorian clubs were unhappy that it prevented teams out west with an unfair advantage and their pressure on the AFL forced footy bosses to enforce initial rules where players can only train with one other player.
AFL football boss Steve Hocking has emailed clubs telling them the competitive equalisation measures would remain in place so teams did not have an unfair advantage.
Cornes said he found the situation incredible, arguing that West Australian clubs were constantly disadvantaged due to the increased travel requirements for them to compete in the AFL.
Cornes slams AFL for buckling under Victorian pressure
Speaking on SEN SA Breakfast, the Port Adelaide legend said Western Australia's teams shouldn't be punished because their situation around COVID-19 had improved, slamming the AFL for pandering to Victorian pressure.
“God forbid WA clubs get an unfair advantage. These are the guys that travel four hours on a plane every second week while Jack Riewoldt (of Richmond) sleeps in his bed for 14 weeks of the season playing games at the MCG.
“This is the same Victorian club who for seven weeks in a row did not leave the MCG in the lead up to the finals.
“This is like saying the weather is better in Perth and it rains in Melbourne so Western Australia players can’t kick the footy in the sun because it’s raining in Victoria.
“This is an absolute joke – it just underlines how VFL-centric the AFL still are.
“It’s just the way the cookie crumbles, if you’re allowed to kick the footy in groups of 10 in Perth, well good luck to them – that’s the law.
“I couldn’t believe the AFL reacted to the request from the Victorian clubs.”
West Coast defender Brad Sheppard said the presence of more players in group exercises would have helped ease that problem for his club.
"How well the WA public have gone about the distancing and isolation, it's given us and our state a leg up on the other states," Sheppard told TAB Radio on Tuesday.
"To be able to train with a couple more boys definitely - talking about that motivation - seeing other boys and seeing the hard work is why you play footy (and) the camaraderie.
"To be able to get a couple more players that you haven't seen in a while to come down and have a kick is something I was pretty happy about."