Cunnington's footy return delayed by COVID

·2-min read

North Melbourne midfielder Ben Cunnington's return from testicular cancer will have to wait at least another week, with the veteran one of four Kangaroos to test positive for COVID in the lead-up to Sunday's game against Essendon.

Cunnington, who hasn't played since July last year when he had a tumour removed, was set to play VFL this weekend before catching the virus.

Aaron Hall, Aidan Corr and Paul Curtis were all ruled out due to health and safety protocols, while Flynn Perez is suspended.

Mid-season defensive recruit Kallan Dawson has been locked in for his AFL debut, while Nick Larkey returns from a heel injury to lead the forward line.

Two-time best and fairest winner Cunnington has had a brutal run, requiring treatment for a secondary diagnosis last November before suffering a calf strain soon after returning to the main training group last month.

"Sometimes you just don't know what to say to him," interim coach Leigh Adams told reporters.

"It's been setback after setback for him, probably the last couple of setbacks are insignificant to the ones that he's been through. He's such a resilient guy and he's able to move on really quickly.

"He's got some pretty heavy symptoms ... going into a game without any training, obviously off what he's come off just wasn't worth the risk."

Adams, who is due to come out of isolation on Sunday morning enabling him to coach the team, said he was surprised the virus hadn't spread more quickly than it had.

"From where we thought we could have been earlier in the week we feel like we're going to be not too badly affected," he said.

"I'm obviously stuck at home and the week hasn't changed a huge amount.

"We kept all the boys away from the club, gave them an extra day off just to make sure there was no chance of it spreading.

"It was, unfortunately, something we've been used to over the last couple of years, just condensing the day, getting the boys in to do their work and getting out."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting