ESSENDON captain Dyson Heppell expects AFL clubs who best manage COVID-19 throughout the season to be best placed for success as virus-enforced absences disrupt pre-season training.
The Bombers had several absences on the track at Tullamarine on Monday and between players, coaches and staff, Heppell estimated 20 people were unavailable due to COVID-19 protocols.
"We had a few missing today. Great to be back in action but we were a bit thin on numbers," he said.
"... Hopefully we get them all back on deck later this week and next week."
Essendon haven't put strict restrictions on their players but Heppell noted come the season, it would be important to limit the number of COVID-enforced absences.
"There's no specific measures that we're putting on ourselves," he said.
"But in terms of getting out and about, trying to limit our time in high density venues and things like that, just trying to take all measures possible, to try not to contract it.
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"You see in world sport around the world, the teams that are handling it the best and staying healthy are at the top of the ladder and are winning.
"That's (dealing with the disruption in the season) the nature of it. Absolutely.
"We'll set ourselves for that and it's all part of it. It's been going for for a few years now. We'll keep trucking on."
Heppell was uncertain what restrictions would apply to players come the season but expected talks with the AFL to "progress over the coming months".
Essendon's absences to date haven't included their skipper, while Heppell said all the Bombers' positive cases had been OK health-wise.
"I've managed to duck and weave a couple (of scares) at the moment and try not to get it," he said.
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"But it's the lay of the land at the moment. You just cop it.
"Guys have handled it really well and been really clear in protocols and I guess taking all measures to try and keep everyone safe and healthy here as well."