Training resumed this week under strict protocols never encountered before by players. CEO Greg Swann joined the Roar Deal podcast to explain how the club was adapting to the changed conditions.
Expect the unexpected.
If the drastically changing footballing landscape created by the Covid 19 restrictions has taught the Brisbane Lions and their players one thing, it is the need to be adaptable.
By the time the players return to action, they would have prepared to play under several vastly different scenarios from the usual pre-season, training in pairs during lockdown to this week’s allowance of groups of eight without contact.
Still to come is the return to contact training and eventually full group training.
The fixture, set to be released later this week, is also unlikely to resemble that of previous years.
The Lions may play a block of games here in Queensland to start the season among West Coast, Fremantle, Port Adelaide, Adelaide who will be temporarily based here and the Suns.
Swann predicted the matches listed as Lions “away games” during that time would be held at Metricon Stadium.
No travel to start the season could be construed as a bonus but as far as an advantage, Swann says its likely to mean extra travel in the run to the finals.
There has been much debate about the equality of the competition, who are the winners and losers out of the altered format?
Swann told the Roar Deal the Lions believed the side who best adapted to the unusual circumstances would triumph and Brisbane had the mentality, enforced by coach Chris Fagan, of happily playing anyone, anywhere, at any time.
“If we stay up here for the first four or five weeks, we may be travelling for maybe three or four weeks in a row,’’ he said.
“There’s swings and roundabouts, we’ve spoken about it a lot within the club and I know Fages has talked to the players about it.
“We almost expect the unexpected, who knows what will happen we just have to suck it up and get on with it.
“We will take whatever comes and in the end the team, like most years, the team that deserves to get there will get there.’’
Swann said it was hard not to be swept up in the excitement generated by footballers returning to work and admits it is a vastly different mood within the entire community from the early days of the pandemic.
He paid tribute to the Government’s health workers and the wider community for helping to “flatten the curve”
“It looked a bit like doomsday when we had that one game and the virus was spreading, so it is a credit to everyone really, the Governments and all the people that everything has come back on track and that has allowed us to get playing,’’ he said.
“You’ve seen consistently up here low numbers, they talk about flattening the curve, well it flattened alright is it just about flat dead.
“The boys came in last week to get tested and they were up and about, they are all pretty pumped to get back to training.’’
Access to the football department is heavily restricted to 24 staff plus an integrity officer and those granted entry are subject to a rigorous testing program.
The one quirk of the new rules is that Swann is unable to watch training having missed the cut of staff considered essential to the operations of the football department.
“Unfortunately that was the end for me, I’m not allowed in and that’s the way it is.’’