Melbourne duo banned for AFL virus breach

Steve Larkin
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AFL Demons Spargo

Melbourne Demons forward Charlie Spargo has been suspended for two games for a COVID-19 rule breach

Melbourne duo Kysaiah Pickett and Charlie Spargo are the latest AFL players to be suspended for breaking the league's coronavirus protocols.

Pickett has been banned from playing against against Carlton on Saturday while Spargo has copped a two-match suspension.

"The two players attended a non-essential gathering and travelled via Uber, which is a clear breach," Melbourne's football manager Josh Mahoney said in a statement.

"Both acknowledged that they knew the rules, admitted their mistake and openly participated with the AFL investigation."

Mahoney's statement didn't specify why Spargo was hit with a two-match ban and Pickett just one game.

The suspension of Pickett and Spargo comes a day after Port Adelaide's Ollie Wines and Essendon's Brandon Zerk-Thatcher were suspended for one match for also breaking coronavirus rules.

Zerk-Thatcher will miss his club's Sunday's fixture against Sydney Swans after self-reporting to the AFL and the Bombers that a friend visited his house, breaching a protocol stipulating players can only have essential visitors.

Port vice-captain Wines gave an interview to a television network outside his house, breaking rules which dictate interviews must be done at a player's club or via video links.

"We understand the protocols, Ollie understands it," Power coach Ken Hinkley told reporters on Friday.

"We as a football club make no excuses.

"It's a mistake and it's an unfortunate mistake made by Ollie and clearly made by one of the broadcast partners too, which is a little strange."

Wines was "incredibly remorseful" about his interview with the AFL's host broadcaster, the Seven Network, on Wednesday night, Hinkley said.

"He is disappointed in what happened, he knows that he should never have let it happen.

"Ollie knows he should have been better. Ollie was incredibly remorseful about what he thought was a simple slip-up.

"But he knew the rules, he just didn't follow through the way he should have."

Wines will miss Port's grudge match against arch rivals Adelaide on Saturday night but Hinkley sidestepped whether the one-game ban was harsh.

"It's not for me to decide what is fair and unfair," he said.

"We all understand the protocols, we all want footy back and we know we have to do above and beyond to make sure we get footy back - we get that, Ollie gets that."