K rock Football

Tiger tests positive to COVID

(Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

A RICHMOND AFLW player has tested positive for COVID-19.

The Tigers confirmed a player had returned a positive result after a pre-training rapid antigen test on Saturday, with a subsequent PCR test also positive.

As per AFLW protocols, Saturday’s scheduled training session did not proceed.

But as Richmond also trained last Thursday, all of their AFLW players and staff who attended that session are self-isolating and awaiting health department advice.

“In line with current government advice, all program members who attended the club at the prior training session on Thursday, October 14, have remained isolated,” the Tigers said in a statement.

“While the person did not enter the facility or mix with people at the club on Saturday, out of an abundance of caution, all other members of the Richmond AFLW bubble were tested over the weekend, with each returning a negative result.

“The club will work with the AFL and Victorian Department of Health to determine when the program can resume.”

The only previously reported incidence of an AFL or AFLW player returning a positive COVID-19 test was former Essendon player Conor McKenna in June 2020.

Meanwhile, Adelaide says it strongly urges people to be vaccinated after AFLW premiership player Deni Varnhagen reportedly informed the Crows she is not willing to receive a COVID-19 jab.

A registered nurse, who has experience working in ICU wards, Varnhagen has become the first known AFL or AFLW player to refuse the COVID-19 vaccination.

The Crows have issued a statement following multiple reports but stressed they could not confirm or deny any player’s vaccination status due to medical confidentiality.

“Our club strongly encourages people to be vaccinated against COVID-19,” a club statement read.

“The club remains committed to following the health advice and guidelines set by government and the AFL.”

The AFL is yet to finalise a vaccination policy but the Victorian government’s requirement about a range of workers, which includes footballers, needing to be vaccinated or have a booking came into effect last Friday.

Most Victorian clubs have confirmed to AAP that their AFLW programs are all compliant with the government vaccine protocols and players have been cleared to train and play.

There is no similar vaccine requirement in South Australia but the state’s healthcare workers do need to have at least one jab before November 1.

Varnhagen, whose 31 games over five seasons include playing in the Crows’ 2017 and 2019 premierships, posted a video on social media on Saturday showing people marching in Adelaide for “freedom of choice”.

The 28-year-old then followed it up with another clip holding a sign that read “health care hero’s (sic) in 2020 … unvaxed unwanted in 2021”.

In September 2020, she gave an interview speaking about her job in an ICU ward during the pandemic while juggling her AFLW career.

AFLW chief executive Nicole Livingstone said the league’s priority was to protect players, staff and the community.

“We are still living through a global pandemic, and if anybody … feels like playing a sport during a global pandemic is not for them, then I have to respect that,” she told SEN.

“There’s still a little more time to work through that approach for Deni.”

Crows superstar Erin Phillips said she was yet to speak with Varnhagen about her stance.

“Everybody has a choice whether they want to be vaccinated or not,” Phillips told Mix 102.3.

“From my point of view, it’s the ramifications that are going to come with not being vaccinated.

“I’m assuming in this situation with AFL, it’s probably going to come to a point where if you’re not vaccinated fully, you won’t be allowed to play.”

The AFLW season is due to get underway on January 6.

(C) AAP 2021