AFL players' boss hits back at Eddie McGuire swipe

AFLPA boss Paul Marsh has hit back over Eddie McGuire's quarantine hubs criticism. Pic: Getty

AFL Players' Association (AFLPA) boss Paul Marsh has hit back at Collingwood President Eddie McGuire after copping backlash over the controversial quarantine hubs proposal.

A worst-case scenario to restart and complete the premiership season was presented by the ALPA to players this week, sparking heated opposition from several high-profile stars.

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The idea that teams would be isolated in quarantine hubs away from their families and loved ones for 20 weeks didn't sit well with many players, particularly those with young children.

Leading players like Adelaide's Rory Sloane and North Melbourne's Todd Goldstein, expressed concerns about families being excluded.

Collingwood president McGuire labelled the scenario of players being away from families for 20 weeks as "complete rubbish".

"That is not only a worst case scenario, that is a doomsday scenario," McGuire said.

McGuire, who is a member of the AFL’s coronavirus ‘war cabinet’, criticised the AFLPA for causing unnecessary stress around an issue that's "not even on the table".

That sentiment is at odds with comments from AFLPA president Patrick Dangerfield, who insisted that the players had only been presented with one proposal from the AFL.

“It was really badly put (by the AFLPA),” McGuire told Channel 9.

“There has been massive stress in families over this and it’s (the 20-week quarantine plan) not even on the table.”

McGuire then revealed that major discussions around how the AFL season might look are happening at the “adults table”, in an apparent swipe at the AFLPA.

Marsh has since returned serve, arguing there should be transparency around those discussions for the players, as they are one of the game's key stakeholders.

“You have to take faith in the fact that the AFL doesn’t necessarily want to be in the hubs. It’s just at the moment, it’s the realistic option to get it away," Marsh said.

“I don’t know what the ‘adults table’ is. Maybe you can get him (McGuire) to define that?

“What I will say is that the players are the most important stakeholders in the industry along with the fans.

“You’d hope the players would be included in the adults table. And we would be provided with the opportunity to work through all of these issues.”

AFL boss confident ‘doomsday’ hubs won’t be necessary

AFL boss Gillon McLachlan believes the prospect of players spending up to 20 weeks in isolation hubs has been overblown and it remains the "most extreme scenario".

McLachlan believes the improving COVID-19 situation across the country will allow for the season to restart in easier circumstances.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will on Friday discuss plans with state and territory leaders for professional sport to resume amid the pandemic.

McLachlan is hopeful positive news will flow out of the National Cabinet meeting and cancel out the need for long-term stays in hubs.

"In the most extreme scenario, in various forms, that's (20 weeks in hubs) an option but clearly in the same framework there's the possibility borders are being open for fly in, fly out," he told 3AW.

"If we end up having to be in high performance hubs for a period of time, all the feedback and all the consideration we'll be taken into account and we'll work through it.

"When people are at home and people are isolated and there's not much else on you get big headlines, but we'll work through it."

McLachlan says whatever situation evolves, the AFL will return to play this year.

"The players genuinely want to play. There are individual circumstances coming out that are quite normal and natural," he said.

"I feel very confident we'll get there with a return-to-play set of protocols and the players are going to feel safe to play and their personal circumstances will able to be managed.

"This is going to be tough and to do their jobs, and to get this game away, people are going to have to make sacrifices."

with AAP