JACK Viney would have been willing to play Melbourne's postponed game against Essendon on Wednesday night but says players need adequate recovery to produce a quality spectacle.
Bomber Conor McKenna's positive COVID-19 test on Saturday, after originally returning a low-level irregularity, was the cause of that postponement – and there were fears of mass player quarantine.
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The Demons organised an impromptu intraclub contest at the MCG last Sunday instead, as preparation for their round four clash with Geelong at the same venue.
There was good news for Essendon on Tuesday, with the Department of Health and Human Services ruling only fringe forward James Stewart would need to join McKenna in self-isolating for 14 days.
It also means the Bombers will return to training on Wednesday, briefly raising the possibility of the catch-up fixture going ahead this week before the AFL confirmed that wouldn't happen.
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"We're pretty desperate to play footy at the moment. We've been locked away for a fair while now and (are) just getting back into the swing of things, so I would have loved to play some footy," Viney said.
"But we had a big intraclub hitout on Sunday, so that will have to do and I'll look forward to playing Geelong this weekend.
"I think everyone's pretty flexible this year.
"We've been cooped up for a while now and any opportunity to play some football, I know the guys would jump at it, so it is what it is and it's pretty unpredictable times at the minute."
The AFL must still squeeze the Melbourne-Essendon match into the fixture at some stage this year, leaving the possibility of the clubs playing three games in a short span.
That's largely why League headquarters chose to keep the shortened quarters to help players recover between appearances.
Viney said there were "positives and negatives" to the situation, including them being relatively fresh for the Cats.
"I like playing footy, so I'd happily try and back it up every three or four days, but it ultimately depends on the game you played beforehand, because it's a physical sport and we run multiple kilometres a game," he said.
"You can pull up pretty sore, and to back up your performance game to game, you do need some time to recover.
"So as much as I'd love to play every day, I probably wouldn't be playing my best football. (With) four, five days to recover, I think you're pulling up well."
Viney, whose wife Charlotte is due to give birth to their first child in July, said he and his teammates were yet to discuss a potential scenario that would see them spend multiple weeks in a Perth hub.
The Demons will have already travelled interstate for games twice by the end of round five.
Something that is a reality for all players is having to prepare for matches without contact training in full groups for at least the next four weeks, although tackling will still be permitted in groups of up to nine.
"As much as I love to train the contest stuff, which I really enjoy and feel like I need to do that to prepare for a game, we can't and no one can," Viney said.
"So I'll just try and do the best I can with the guidelines we're given and prepare myself the best I can. That's all we can really do at this stage.
"It's an interesting season and interesting year and we're just trying to do the best we can."