COVID-19 restrictions ease for AFL players

Oliver Caffrey
The AFL will start to ease off some social distancing rules

Strict coronavirus restrictions imposed on AFL players have been relaxed, with footballers again able to participate in social sports and see family members.

To safely restart the season last weekend after an almost three-month hiatus, players were effectively housebound, apart from training and games.

But in a welcome relief for players and clubs - including those in Gold Coast quarantine hubs, they'll be allowed to play golf and tennis, as well as go fishing and surfing.

Up to five members of a player's immediate family will be allowed over to fall closer in line with restrictions on those in the wider community.

The AFL had always planned to review the restrictions after round two.

"I would like to thank all the players and match day officials for their commitment that afforded the competition the opportunity for football to return," AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon said.

"While the protocols are, in areas, still stronger than the broader community, the competition is able to participate in elite contact sport before the rest of the country, so we must all continue to ensure they are abided by."

It comes after four AFL players were last week slapped with bans for breaching the COVID-19 protocols.

Star Port Adelaide midfielder Ollie Wines was suspended for the Power's thumping Showdown win against Adelaide after allowing a television news crew in his home for an interview.

Melbourne pair Charlie Spargo (two games) and Kysaiah Pickett (one), as well as Essendon defender Brandon Zerk-Thatcher (one) were also given bans for breaking protocols.

Hawthorn forward Jack Gunston said the restrictions had been tough to abide by given the general population has recently been granted more freedom.

"I think the AFL and the government have done great work getting the game going and making sure it's up and going before changing too much," he said on Monday.