CLUBS have begun inquiring about the vaccination status of draftees to ensure prospects are ready to step into the AFL system after November's NAB AFL Draft.
The AFL has not yet released its official COVID-19 vaccination policy but has strongly encouraged its players and the wider community to be vaccinated against the virus.
While the AFL has not mandated jabs for players, the Victorian Government in September legislated that all authorised workers would require their first COVID-19 vaccine dose by October 15 in order to continue to work onsite and to be fully vaccinated by November 26.
That means for players to train and enter clubs as authorised workers they must have two doses of the vaccine by the end of November.
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That second date falls at the end of NAB AFL Draft week, with the first round to be selected on November 24, the following rounds of the national draft to be picked on November 25 and the pre-season and rookie drafts to be staged on November 26.
It would mean draftees would need to be fully vaccinated to step into a Victorian AFL club once they are drafted, leaving clubs to follow up in recent weeks on the vaccination status of prospects.
Clubs are not using the enquiries to make assessments on players but to be as educated as possible about the players to ensure they are ready to begin training without any lag time. They are also aware that the 18-year-old bracket was one of the last open to the full range of vaccines.
Some players who swapped clubs during trade period were also quizzed on their vaccination status.
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The movements of draftees after they selected has also been a topic of discussion amongst clubs, with questions on whether draftees from Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania and Queensland would head to Victorian and New South Wales clubs for training before the Christmas break or wait until the New Year to avoid any quarantine with state border restrictions.
The AFL is working through plans for its draft nights, with state-based events in South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria likely. Last year saw the draft largely conducted as a virtual affair over one night.