Essendon defender Conor McKenna has tested positive for coronavirus, AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan has confirmed.
- Conor McKenna first tested positive for coronavirus on Friday, and returned a second positive on Saturday morning
- No date has yet been set for the rescheduled Essendon-Melbourne game
- Contact tracing and testing will take place at Essendon, but McKenna did not train with his teammates on Saturday
The news has forced the postponement of Sunday’s game between the Bombers and Melbourne, but all other games in round three and beyond will, at this stage, proceed as usual.
McKenna returned to his native Ireland during the COVID-19-enforced shutdown, but arrived back in May and has been training with his Bombers teammates since his 14-day quarantine period ended. He has not played a game yet in 2020.
McLachlan said all Essendon players were tested on Friday night, and McKenna was the only one to test positive. He said McKenna had been asymptomatic.
McKenna was retested on Saturday morning and returned another positive result.
McLachlan said McKenna did not train with his Bombers teammates on Saturday morning.
“We will be working with the [Victorian] Chief Medical Officer to do the close-contact tracing with Conor,” McLachlan said.
“All players and football department staff have been asked to self-isolate until that work has been done.
“We said at the outset we will make all decisions on the basis of the medical advice.”
McLachlan said McKenna would now be quarantined and would continue to undergo testing until he tested negative, and the rest of the Bombers squad would undergo tests on Tuesday.
“Safety is priority one, it’s priority two, it’s priority three,” he said.
“We need to do the right thing.”
McLachlan said the Bombers’ headquarters would be closed and extensively cleaned over the coming days, and he reiterated the need for the league to be “flexible and agile”.
“We put this testing regime in place for a reason — it was to ensure that we knew if someone had the virus and we would take action to ensure we did not spread it to other players, staff or the wider community,” he said.
“Without the testing, we would not have known. So the system has done what it was designed to do.
“This is a reminder to clubs and supporters that we are not through this crisis.”
Essendon chief executive Xavier Campbell confirmed all players and staff at the club were now isolating.
“The AFL and Department of Health and Human Services [DHHS] were notified immediately per the protocols. We will continue to work with the DHHS and the Chief Health Officer’s team, as well as the AFL over the coming days to seek further details,” Campbell said.
“We are also working with the Department to identify those who they deem to have been in close contact with Conor and isolate them.
“The priority is also to provide our full support for Conor and ensure his health and welfare during this difficult time for him.
“We will continue to provide our full support for our remaining players and staff.”