Duff & Quarters: Spike in soft tissue injuries raises questions over AFL's optimistic return date
Has the AFL rushed back into the season’s resumption too soon?
League fixture boss Travis Auld announced the revised fixtures on Monday May 25, less than three weeks out from the round two opener on June 11.
The AFL has permitted clubs to partake in a maximum of two contact sessions per week in the lead up to the competition’s re-commencement, but we’ve seen quite a spike in soft tissue injuries over the past fortnight.
The most substantial of the injuries came last week when Swans star forward Lance Franklin suffered a significant hamstring injury, that could see him miss more than half of the 2020 season.
The West Australian Chief Football Writer Mark Duffield and Sunday Times Editor Glen Quartermain today discussed if perhaps the return date is a bit optimistic by the AFL.
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“Duff, while we’re talking about Buddy Franklin I want to read you a list,” Quartermain said on The Duff & Quarters podcast.
“Adam Treloar (calf), Ben Reid (calf), Dyson Heppell (foot), Orazio Fantasia (quad), Jaeger O’Meara (head) – that was a head clash at training so we won’t blame that on the resumption of training.
He continued: “Majak Daw (peck), Joe Daniher (groin), Buddy Franklin with that hamstring, which I believe is a 12 week injury, which is a huge shame, and Robbie Gray (broken toe).
“I’m not going to include Gray because he dropped a set of weights on his toe, but the point I’m trying to get at is: this is the fear we had.
“I think it’s come back one or two weeks too early.
“They wanted the flexibility in the draw, if there was a ‘spike’ or ‘cluster’, but I fear too small a build up and we were going to see these soft tissue injuries.”
West Coast and Fremantle are set to charter a flight to the Gold Coast this coming Monday, ahead of their repective clashes on Saturday June 13.
“It’s going to be interesting to see how the different clubs approach this, because there is an argument that maybe they should ease their way into the season,” Duffield said.
“So let’s take Fremantle. Their round two game is against Brisbane at the Gabba where Brisbane were 10 and 3 (W-L) last year, as a young developing team, Fremantle will start that game as a clear outsider.
“Should Fremantle’s main aim be to yes compete, but to get through that game with a clean bill of health? And hit round three with a head of steam and a full complement of players?”
“I’d agree with that Duff,” Quartermain said.
“I think people are going to cut you some slack with on field performances, particularly early.
“I think it should be a gradual build in.”
TODAY’S PODCAST RUNDOWN
John Kennedy - Footy Hall of Fame Legend (0.30)
Interchange ruling, McLachlan and player pay cuts (7.00)
Soft tissue injuries for the return to footy (15.00)
Jesse Hogan firing, Liam Ryan carrying a couple kgs (22.00)
Hard border: Clubs vs McGowan
MAILBAG - Luke Armitage leads the Cayman Islands support club