Retired AFL star and pundit Kane Cornes' push for the AFL to restart the season has been shut down by several of his colleagues.
The Port Adelaide great was speaking on Channel Nine’s Footy Classified on Monday night, where he argued that the AFL needed to take a leaf out of the NRL's book and focus on restarting the season as soon as possible.
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AFL chief executive McLachlan and his decision makers are weighing up multiple states as potential bases for training, accommodation and matches in quarantine hubs.
The AFL hopes to finalise its season resumption plan by May 11, however, the hub proposal is yet to be discussed in fine detail with the wider playing group and remains a contentious issue.
The NRL on the other hand has already slated May 28 as the date when its competition will resume.
It's also received Federal government clearance for the New Zealand Warriors to fly into Australia to begin training.
The AFL has so far taken a more cautious approach, working towards a more thorough plan for how its season will look before making an announcement on a return date.
Cornes argued that with COVID-19 rates improving, now is the time to make an announcement and the longer the AFL leaves it, the greater the advantage it gives to its rival footy code.
"There are nearly 500 less cases now (than there were in Round 1)."@kanecornes is urging the AFL to follow the NRL's approach and give us a restart date ASAP, but the panel strongly disagrees. #9FootyClassified | Watch @Channel9 pic.twitter.com/08NbUgFmop— Footy on Nine (@FootyonNine) April 27, 2020
"How can we be critical of the NRL for setting a date now in a month’s time for wanting to come back and be aspirational?
“Not one AFL player has tested positive. They are in the lowest risk demographic, there is next to nil (chance) that we will put them at harm if we come back sooner rather than later.
“They may also get a month, free reign where all of our eyeballs are watching NRL.
“I wouldn’t usually watch NRL, but I guarantee if live sport’s on, I’ll be watching. It may be a massive free kick for them and one the AFL misses out on.”
Panelists warn Cornes about dangers of acting hastily
Cornes got no support from the other members of the Footy Classified panel, with journalist Caroline Wilson and host Craig Hutchison both erring on a 'safety first' approach.
“One of the reasons the (COVID-19) numbers have dropped is because there weren’t the games and people didn’t gather in social places,” Wilson argued.
Hutchison warned Cornes that his proposal may be dangerous, considering we are coming into the typically challenging winter season.
“I don’t agree with that. The winter is going to be a worse time. We haven’t had a winter yet. We need to be really careful as a community and a society not to regress, the host said.
He also argued that the NRL weren't in as strong a financial position as the AFL, so their need to resume competition as soon as possible, is greater than the AFL's.
“I admire (Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter) V’landys immensely and his staunch views of the world but they probably needed a date more than the AFL. They have different needs,” Hutchison said.
“They’ve got no assets like the AFL do, they’re in a bigger hurry and they’ve got more problems to solve.”