ESSENDON chief executive Xavier Campbell is holding out hope the AFL won't force the Bombers to play Carlton on Saturday night if their list is severely compromised.

Conor McKenna's positive COVID-19 test on Saturday has cast doubt on Essendon's immediate playing status and how it might impact the rest of the competition. 

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The AFL already postponed indefinitely the Bombers' game against Melbourne on Sunday.

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AFL explains decision to postpone Sunday's Dons-Dees clash

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan fronts the media after Conor McKenna tests positive to COVID-19, courtesy of Fox Footy

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Much of the fear about which other Essendon players might have to go into self-isolation for 14 days has centred on McKenna's small training group of defenders.

However, vision from McKenna training on Friday, after testing negative on Wednesday and before he returned a low-level irregularity then positive reading, showed more Bombers may be impacted.

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Zach Merrett, Andrew McGrath, Jake Stringer, Adam Saad and James Stewart may also have been in close proximity.

The AFL has so far indicated that Essendon will have to face the Blues this weekend if they have 22 players, plus four emergencies, available to play.

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Bombers shock: What next for quarantine Dons?

Mitch Cleary and Nat Edwards discuss the situation at Essendon following Conor McKenna's positive Covid-19 test

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Campbell said more information was required before any such decision was made.

The Bombers submitted "an enormous amount of detail and data" to the Department of Health and Human Services on Sunday night, and Campbell expects to hear back by Tuesday on which players are affected.

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All Essendon footballers and staff registered with the AFL for training and game purposes will also be tested again on Monday.

"I'd expect common sense would (prevail)," Campbell told Triple M radio.

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"When I say common sense, when the League worked through this – and they've done a tremendous job – they created flexibility in the fixture to allow for this exact situation, where we can stretch out the season, where we could have potential breaks.

"We may have to have breaks based on existing state border closures and things like that, anyway, so I would like to think we would sit down with the AFL and others … so we can work through it for a reasonable outcome."

Campbell said the preference was still to play against Carlton if the impact on the Bombers' playing group was minimal

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"I would love for that to happen, we would love for that to happen, because this game is very important in the context of where we're all at right now," he said.

"I think an element of normality is a nice thing for everyone to see, particularly the Essendon fans and players and everything else like that.

"But you'd like to think we sit down and look at it with an element of common sense and fairness."

Campbell pointed out that AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan has previously said the season could extend into December if required.