AFL teams adjust to training changes

Anna Harrington
Western Bulldogs players appeared unaffected by the latest changes to training protocols

Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge says players and coaches will have to be flexible and resilient throughout the season as AFL clubs adjust to another change to training protocols.

After the positive COVID-19 test of Essendon's Conor McKenna, contact training is now only permitted in small groups, with clubs' full-squad training sessions now non-contact.

"We've all got to adhere to the restrictions and the slight adjustment in the protocols and in that you just take solace in the fact that you're one of 18 (clubs) who just need to adjust," Beveridge told reporters on Tuesday.

"... It probably compromises what you'd like to do, absolutely, but it's such a different season, you need to be resilient - it's survival of ingenuity as much as it is being resilient from the physical and mental point of view.

"So we need to think outside the square and support our players in what they're doing and we'll be okay with it."

After McKenna's positive result, Essendon had to wait to see how many other players would miss games - with ultimately only James Stewart sidelined.

Beveridge said the Bulldogs had made a point of shuffling their small groups in a bid to avoid top players from the same positions of the ground collectively being ruled out by a positive test.

"Each week we reconsider who should be in which group and we've re-done them and we've probably been a little bit more conservative with regards to what's happened there and we've got a pretty good blend," he said.

"Because you're not training so much and the contact is minimised, you've got to go through a process of risk assessment."

Meanwhile, Carlton defender Jacob Weitering downplayed the effect of the changes and expected Blues players to stay in their particular line groups.

"It's probably not going to affect us too much because we have been training in groups one day a week then a full training session which the AFL permits on the Thursday," Weitering said.

"So that's not going to change, there's just going to be no contact on Thursday."