Fringe players have AFL chance: Dew

Suns coach Stuart Dew says players not currently on an AFL squad could be needed due to injuries.
Suns coach Stuart Dew says players not currently on an AFL squad could be needed due to injuries.

Crisis creates opportunity. That's the view of Gold Coast coach Stuart Dew amid fears of an increased injury rate in the compromised 2020 season.

Some coaches, including Brisbane mentor Chris Fagan, are worried short preparation time after the COVID-19 shutdown will put players at risk of injury when the season resumes.

Already Sydney's Lance Franklin (hamstring) and Collingwood's Adam Treloar (calf) have been sidelined while early evidence from Germany's Bundesliga has indicated a rise in soft tissue injuries following that soccer competition's resumption.

Those concerns have the AFL contemplating extending interchange bench numbers and Dew says players on the outer at clubs can use the situation to their benefit.

"If you're any player on an AFL list now, train well, put your name up," Dew said.

"Sometimes it's harder to get in and then easier to stay in.

"There's definitely going to be opportunity for guys that may have thought they were a little bit further away. Time will tell."

Perhaps the biggest hurdle for those on the fringes will be a lack of reserve matches in which to press their claims.

Dew says the Suns are working hard to try and arrange scratch matches with the Lions as well as Adelaide, West Coast, Fremantle and Port Adelaide - who will all be based on the Gold Coast for at least the next four rounds of the competition in an isolation hub.

The Suns coach says having so many AFL teams in their neighbourhood will make it easier than some to arrange such fixtures.

"Talking to someone from Sydney, they've got some challenges because if the AFL teams are on different days where do they organise their second tier game?" he said.

"And also ovals are always a bit of an issue in NSW.

"We're blessed here with three ovals in the precinct that we can have in a safe environment and we think that's a fantastic thing for the teams up here."

Australian Associated Press