Richmond’s Jack Riewoldt is open to the idea of playing more games with shorter turnarounds while in an AFL hub, but the two-time premiership star says the Tigers might need to call for reinforcements.
The move, possibly resulting in teams playing games off four-day breaks, gathered momentum on Thursday as league officials pondered the ramifications of Victoria’s worsening COVID-19 outlook.
The reigning premiers and the other nine Victorian teams scrambled to leave the state early this week as the AFL sought to overcome the latest roadblock of the troubled season.
Just days after arriving in the Queensland hub, with the Tigers to isolate for 14 days, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews reintroduced strict lockdown measures.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan had promised players they would be away for a maximum of 32 days.
The league is contemplating cramming more games into that period to give greater flexibility should the season suffer further coronavirus interruptions.
“There is obviously a lot of water to go under the bridge but, in principle, I think we would beokay with playing games off four or five-day breaks,” Riewoldt told his Balls and Bumpers podcast.
“Maybe after three in a row, you might start to look for the end of the tunnel.
“I think there are a few complexities to it … we were asked to bring a smaller list up here because more people on the ground is more cost.
“Whilst trying to do the right thing, we have left some players back in Melbourne and two of those players are Bachar Houli and Shane Edwards, then we’ve got a few injured guys.
“We’d have to ask the question about getting guys up here, but we have got pretty limited facilities and how do they fit in with that?
“Ground availability is another one and can grounds withstand playing games of footy nearly every second day?”
Riewoldt, who left his infant daughter and wife in Melbourne, believed the league could broker a new deal with the clubs to extend their stay away from home if it meant saving the season.
“In a season that’s already running out of time, it might be the most sensible thing to keep the players up here and try to knock over as many games as you can,” he said.
“It’s pretty fluid.”