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Bombers get a boost as only one additional player is forced into quarantine

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23rd June, 2020
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James Stewart is the only Essendon player who will have to go into quarantine along with his AFL teammate Conor McKenna.

Essendon’s AFL clash against Carlton on Saturday will go ahead as scheduled with only one other Bombers player deemed to have been in close contact with Conor McKenna, who returned a positive coronavirus test last weekend.

The entire Essendon playing list was tested at Marvel Stadium on Monday – with all, aside from McKenna, returning a negative result on Tuesday morning.

Fringe key forward James Stewart is the only other Bombers player who will go into quarantine, along with McKenna, after a ruling from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Stewart, 26, missed almost all of the 2019 campaign with a groin injury and did not feature in the Bombers’ opening two wins this year against Fremantle and Sydney.

“This has clearly been a sensitive and delicate matter, and as a club, the health and wellbeing of our players and staff, particularly Conor and James, has been our number one priority throughout this period,” Bombers chief executive officer Xavier Campbell said.

“The public nature of our industry has made this task even more difficult but we are now pleased to have reached an outcome with the DHHS.”

Essendon’s round-three clash with Melbourne last Sunday was postponed after McKenna’s positive test and has yet to be rescheduled.

There were fears that the Bombers could have been without a host of players for the next fortnight as fellow defenders Adam Saad, Cale Hooker, Michael Hurley, Matt Guelfi, Jordan Ridley and Mason Redman had reportedly been in McKenna’s training group.

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Full-contact training has since been banned at all clubs by the AFL in response to McKenna’s test result and with COVID-19 cases continuing to increase at concerning levels in Victoria.

Clubs will be permitted to continue contact training in groups of up to nine, and larger groups can still conduct ball movement drills without contact.

“The players will formally recommence training on Wednesday morning at the NEC Hangar in preparation for our round four game against Carlton on Saturday night,” Campbell said.

Essendon will face the Blues at the MCG.

© AAP