THERE is no denying the impact COVID-19 has had on the AFL in 2020, but Melbourne isn’t letting that get in its way.
The club’s Chairman, Glen Bartlett, says his side is still as determined as ever to achieve success and will deal with whatever is thrown their way this season.
“We rolled out some club values at the start of the year and some expectations, and one of them is that we’re not going to use COVID-19 as an excuse,” Bartlett said on SEN radio.
“Our expectation is to play finals.
“We set out a strategic plan at the start of the year for the next four years and that plan hasn’t been altered.
“We can still absolutely assess the performance on and off the field - the performance of our coaching group, our playing group, everyone across the club.
“Absolutely you need to take into account the circumstances we’ve faced, but also how we’ve dealt with those challenges and circumstances.”
The rolling fixture is one of many obstacles the Demons have had to overcome in the early part of the season, with one game postponed and another rescheduled in the space of three weeks.
But they're not the only side that will be forced to deal with these changes.
“It’s a different world, and the clubs and the teams that really embrace this and are agile and embrace the challenge, will come through,” Bartlett said.
“I believe as a club on and off the field we’ll come through this stronger and in a strong position financially to rebound from COVID-19.
“Again, not diminishing the impact, but it is a different world – I absolutely acknowledge that.
“I think we’ll get some really tight games, there’s still been some great footy played … and the premiership’s going to be the premiership.
“And I actually believe this talk about there being an asterisk is just nonsense.
“Whoever comes through and wins it wins the 2020 premiership in probably the most unprecedented and difficult circumstances, just about of all time.”
In the lead up to the 2020 finals series, some sides will be benefitted more than others; that’s the reality.
But Bartlett says the fact a season is being played out in any form is an incredible effort in itself.
“I’ve been really proud of all of our people from our board, our exec, all of our staff and the other clubs in the AFL,” he said.
“The approach with this has been very collaborative.
“There have been a lot of discussions behind closed doors to really get these games played, but it is challenging.
“If you worry about fairness or a really perfect fixture, you’ve just got to forget about that.
“It’s, be ready for the next challenge and make sure we put our best foot forward.”
Listen to Bartlett's full interview below: