LUKE McDonald has called Essendon's Conor McKenna to apologise for his COVID-19 sledge on Saturday night, with North Melbourne coach Rhyce Shaw condemning his player's jibe as "not necessary".

McDonald pretended to cover his face like a mask in the direction of McKenna in the midst of a quarter-time scuffle during their encounter at Metricon Stadium, appearing to mock the Irish defender for his positive COVID-19 test result last month.

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McKenna, who was playing his first senior match for the season, had become the first AFL player to test positive for the virus in late June before returning a series of negative results in the ensuing days.

The taunt drew criticism in the aftermath of North Melbourne's 13-point defeat, with Shaw revealing that McDonald had recognised his behaviour was wrong and had called McKenna to apologise on Sunday morning.

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"We've dealt with that internally … Luke's given Conor a call," Shaw said.

"From our perspective, it wasn't necessary. It's a bad look and considering all of the things that are going on around the world at the moment, and even more specifically in Melbourne, we just don't accept that type of behaviour.

"Luke apologised for that and understands what that looks like."

Shaw said the 25-year-old had taken the initiative to call McKenna the following day upon realising the magnitude of his error.

"He's disappointed in his own actions," Shaw said.

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"We had a really good chat about it. We addressed it straightaway, as soon as we felt it was the right time. He did that the next morning and we put it to bed pretty quickly.

"Conor was really good about it and respected the phone call from Luke."