Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury has reportedly been isolated from teammates after suffering flu-like symptoms, and there is mounting speculation that the AFL may postpone its men’s and women’s seasons altogether amid.
Pendlebury missed training at the Magpies facility in Melbourne this morning, and missed Friday’s session as well, sparking initial concerns. It’s since been revealed that Pendlebury has been isolated away from teammates and club officials.
It’s not known whether Pendlebury has been tested for COVID-19, and there are no suggestions the star midfielder has been exposed to the virus. However with sporting leagues around the globe suspending operations entirely, AFL clubs are understandably taking a hyper-conservative approach.
It comes amid rising speculation that the men’s season, due to start this Thursday night, could be put on ice indefinitely.
The AFL had previously planned to push on with the season with no fans in the stands, however that plan appears to be on the verge of being torn up.
All AFL and AFLW players are to be addressed by the AFL Players Association throughout the day, ahead of a conference call tonight that will likely decide the fate of the 2020 season.
Citing an unidentified club official, Channel 7 football reporter Mark Stephens notes that “the mood has shifted in the past 12 hours.”
One senior AFL club official just now: “The mood has shifted in the past 12 hours”.
Footy Thursday night and beyond under threat. @7NewsMelbourne
— Mark Stevens (@Stevo7AFL) March 15, 2020
AFL Victoria this morning formally postponed the tier two VFL season indefinitely, meaning the reserves sides of all Victorian-based AFL clubs will not line up for the season’s scheduled start date of April 3. AFL Victoria officials are expected to make a formal announcement on the decision later this afternoon.
AFL officials are yet to issue formal comment on these latest developments.