John Worsfold wary of risking Conor McKenna after long layoff

“We’re weighing that up at the moment. We’ll have a look at how he trains today, but there is definitely risk and reward there.

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“He actually got in in the evening the other night and got to do a run around on his own, so he’s already had one run and steps it up today.”

McKenna missed the round one win over Fremantle after returning to Ireland in the week before the start of the season, and was overlooked for the round two match against Sydney after another trip back to Ireland during the league’s COVID-19 hiatus.

Worsfold said he was wary about the risks associated with returning from a difficult preparation. McKenna spent 10 days in quarantine on the back of his positive test.

“I’m very conscious of it. We’ve seen a number of soft-tissue injuries over the last couple of rounds, including some more collision or non soft-tissue injuries as well, which are often a sign that players haven’t had the amount of time to prepare themselves for the nature of our game,” he said.

“I wouldn’t say I’m leaning towards being conservative [with McKenna], but I’m very conscious of rushing a player in and then potentially losing them for three or four weeks.”

Worsfold meanwhile said Zach Merrett had copped on the chin his one-match suspension for striking Blue Jack Silvagni.

“Zach understood there was a fairly serious injury that occurred out of his action, and AFL footballers these days understand, for the majority, they’re accountable for that,” Worsfold said.

“I don’t think Zach’s action was intentional or malicious, it was an action we see very regularly in the game. But if it causes an injury and it’s not part of a tackle and part of the game, then you are facing some sort of sanction.”