The Western Bulldogs have experienced a COVID-19 scare after a member of its AFLW program tested positive, forcing contacts into isolation.
The fully vaccinated player attended training at VU Whitten Oval last Thursday free of symptoms, receiving a negative result from a rapid antigen test on arrival.
PCR Covid tests were also administered at the training session for all staff and players, in line with regular AFL testing protocols, with one test returning a positive result on Friday.
All other members of the AFLW program received negative results from both their rapid antigen test and PCR test.
After the Club was made aware of the confirmed positive case on Friday evening, Saturday’s training session was cancelled and all staff and players were asked to isolate.
Specific high performance training areas of the club accessed by the AFLW program on Thursday evening have been determined as an exposure site, in line with Victorian workplace guidelines.
The club is working with the AFL and the Victorian Department of Health to determine the period of isolation required for individuals in the program, and when training can resume.
The situation comes as the AFLW team has been ramping up preseason preparations.
Western Bulldogs AFLW senior coach Nathan Burke said he is looking for his second year at the helm to yield an improvement on the five wins and four losses recorded in 2021, itself a significant improvement to the season prior.
“If every player gets better individually, we will have a better team than what we had last year – that’s just natural,” he said.
“But if we can get better individually, and also push our teammates to get better, that’s when you get the exponential growth.”
Despite having started the official preseason just over four weeks ago, Burke said the fact that his team remained committed to training during the off-season has meant they have the luxury of focussing on other areas.
“We had a really big winter actually – we kept training pretty much all the way through, and they did a lot of work on their skills, which has allowed us to do a bit more game-plan stuff than we otherwise would have,” Burke said.