PATRICK Dangerfield believes the 2020 AFL premiership will come with an asterisk but also says it will be one of the hardest in history to win.
The Geelong superstar is part of a wider playing group that faces great uncertainty during the competition shutdown.
Players are training and maintaining fitness in isolation, with no real target date as the AFL waits on further government advice before determining when its season will resume.
Dangerfield said the premiership would be an unusual one if it is decided this year in what would be a disjointed and compromised campaign because of the upheaval caused by coronavirus restrictions.
“An asterisk next to it, yes, but it is the ultimate war of attrition because there’s so much unknown for players at the moment,” Dangerfield told SEN.
“We’ve got players preparing at the moment for what could be three or four or five months away. That’s the realness of it all.”
Dangerfield feels an AFL season could maintain its integrity with teams playing as few as 12 home-and-away matches each.
But he added there are bigger considerations at play than fairness in the competition this year.
“The game supports so many (people) and that’s as much a consideration as providing the integrity for a premiership-winning team,” Dangerfield said.
“It’s not just as clear cut as what’s got to be totally fair for all. It’s not going to be that.
“We’ve got to endeavour to provide the season that we all hope for but it is going to be one that is like no other.”
Dangerfield has serious doubts over the viability of AFL plans, made public this week, that would see the season resume with round-robin fixtures in quarantine hubs when some government restrictions are lifted.
But he said players are eager to return to action when it is declared safe to do so.
“We’ve never had a season like this, and every other sport in the world is in the same position, aren’t they,” Dangerfield said.
“It will be just ‘that pandemic year’ when everyone looks back and there will be one team hopefully that looks back with incredible memories of triumphing in extreme adversity and scenarios.”
© AAP 2020