THERE has been plenty of talk about a pay dispute between the AFL players and the league in recent days, but Dees defender Jake Lever says there are bigger things to worry about.

While the players’ income, and that of the rest of the country, is crucial, it’s the health of the community that remains the key priority.

“It is absolutely at the minute, bigger than football,” Lever told SEN Breakfast on Thursday morning.

“We understand that and it’s just really difficult talking about it because it’s so open and there’s nothing ever been done like this before.

“I think for us it’s really important that we work through things and in the end, the AFL, the AFL clubs, the AFL players want to get back playing footy.

“But obviously that’s at the back of our minds at the minute, just with the health and safety of the community and the rising numbers of COVID-19 in Australia.

“We’re just trying to follow all the regulations – training by ourselves, everything like that, to hopefully not spread the disease and flatten the curve.”

The new nation-wide policies have impacted the way footballers can go about their work, putting limitations on training, and leaving an unclear timeframe around the return to games.

But Lever and his teammates will continue to do their best with what they have, even if that is at times unorthodox.

“For us, we played on the Sunday … so yesterday was the first time we had to train,” he said.

“I think it was difficult, but you always have that motivation of hopefully in eight to 10 weeks we’ll be back playing footy.

“So that’s really important that we do keep that fitness and ball skills stuff up and everything like that.

“It was interesting for me yesterday, handballing the ball against the wall and kicking the ball against a wall down at my local park in Kew, so that was difficult.

“But I think every single AFL player will be motivated to be able to get back and put on a show for the fans.

“Whether that’s with crowds, without crowds, we just want to get back playing footy and I’m sure everyone will be motivated to get back playing.”