WA clubs stripped of AFL 'advantage' after Victorian uproar

Australian Associated Press
·2-min read
The AFL's West Australian clubs will be restricted from training in larger groups. Pic: Getty
The AFL's West Australian clubs will be restricted from training in larger groups. Pic: Getty

The AFL has reportedly stopped Western Australian clubs training in larger groups following complaints from Victorian teams.

WA premier Mark McGowan this week lifted the local limit on outdoor gatherings to 10 people after the state recorded a declining number of new COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.

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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.

But Herald Sun reporter John Ralph says the AFL has stepped in to stress that all clubs must abide by 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.

“Rival Victorian clubs had on Monday and Tuesday complained to the league about a competitive advantage,” Ralph wrote.

“When Hocking constituted training restrictions that involved players only training with a single teammate, clubs were told not to find loopholes around the regulations.

“Clubs believe teams in groups of ten could run specific training drills involving tactics and gain a significant advantage over rival sides.”

Clubs around the country have highlighted fluctuating levels of motivation as a major issue for players during the shutdown period as they train with no specific end goal in sight.

Eagles star admits WA clubs would have had an advantage

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."

West Coast's football department had meetings planned on Tuesday, where players were set to be given updated information on what they were allowed to do under government restrictions.

The 179-game defender said he had spent some of his downtime during the AFL shutdown period learning how to surf, partly under the guidance of his cousin and Australian cricketer Mitch Marsh.

with Yahoo Sport staff