AFLW fixture adjustments mentally draining | Ralph Lauren

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Collingwood coach Steve Symonds concedes the consistently changing AFLW fixture is mentally draining but believes his players will need to get used to it.

The Magpies solidified their best start to a season by defeating Richmond by 17 points on Sunday for their third-straight victory.

Collingwood were originally meant to be spending the weekend in Brisbane, not taking on their rivals at an empty Punt Rd oval.

Victoria’s COVID-19 lockdown forced the league to switch around the schedule, only days after the round three fixture was initially locked in.

All three games in Melbourne this weekend were played without crowds, while the Geelong-Western Bulldogs at GMHBA Stadium on Friday night took place only hours before Victoria was thrown into another stage-four lockdown.

“It’s pretty tough from a mental point of view for the girls,” Symonds said after beating the Tigers.

“We had a pretty flat (training) session on Wednesday.

We were trying to put our finger on what it was but we found out just before the training session that again we changed our opponent and venue.

“We thought we were going to Brisbane and everything was planned towards that so suddenly another change again.

“It’s something our players have to get used. I don’t think it’s ideal preparation for them, we’ve just got to keep adjusting

“As we go along they’re getting used to it but no doubt it’s mentally draining.”

Collingwood are due to play North Melbourne next Saturday night but Symonds is aware that match-up could change again.

The part-time nature of AFLW adds another layer of complexity to the rapidly-changing season.

Most players have some form of part or full-time employment outside of football.

Fremantle’s Evie Gooch was forced to withdraw from the Dockers’ clash with Adelaide on Sunday due to work commitments.

The ladder-leading Dockers were preparing to spend several weeks on the road in order to keep the season alive, but will return home to host Gold Coast next Saturday.

Crows coach Matthew Clarke said he was hopeful hubs would not be needed to complete the season.

“That would be challenging for the whole league if it gets to that,” he told reporters.

“Every team will have players that their employment makes the hubs really challenging and really tough.”

The Brisbane Lions will be aiming to join Fremantle, Collingwood and Melbourne as undefeated teams when they host West Coast on Monday to complete round three.


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