AFL coach exposes game's glaring virus contradiction

Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge questioned the AFL's decision to play under compromised conditions after his side's opening-round loss to Collingwood.

The league delivered new protocols this week amid the coronavirus crisis, ordering players to avoid unnecessary contact.

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They were advised to cease sharing water bottles, hugging and shaking hands.

A leading doctor blasted the AFL after players did all three in Thursday night's season opener.

The AFL were already under fire for going ahead with the start of their season on Thursday night amid the crisis, with many believing it’s a bad look when the rest of society is under strict measures to stop the spread of the virus.

So it was particularly grating when Richmond and Carlton players were seen shaking hands and sharing water bottles during the game at the MCG - two massive no-no’s amid the crisis.

Now the 'high-five' has also been outlawed despite far more contact occurring during the natural course of a match.

Player high-fives were replaced with other forms of celebration on Friday night. Pic: Getty

The Magpies celebrated one of their goals during a 52-point at Marvel Stadium on Friday night with a 'foot shake' and social distancing measures put in place meant they did not link arms during their team song.

While Beveridge showed his support for the AFL competition continuing, he found the contradictions around many of the coronavirus safety protocols 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.

‘Why are we playing the game’

"All that peripheral stuff, if we can't do that, then why are we playing the game?"

Beveridge acknowledged there were positive social effects of playing football during the coronavirus crisis.

"Maybe we can bring a bit of brightness into peoples' lives when there's so many things that they've got to consider," he said.

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

Meanwhile, Beveridge revealed the Bulldogs had been in contact with rival clubs about scheduling scratch matches for players who aren't involved in AFL matches.

With all major state leagues postponed, there is nowhere for players currently outside their clubs' best 22 to find match practice.

The Bulldogs have been involved in talks to play a limited 'reserves' match against Carlton on Friday before their AFL round two meeting, which is scheduled for Saturday.

But talks are on hold as the two clubs wait for the all-clear from the AFL and medical authorities.

With Yahoo Sport Staff