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Bombers, Magpies hit by COVID-19 protocols

Winless Essendon will have to confront Adelaide without coach Ben Rutten and vice-captain Taylor Adams is out of Collingwood’s clash with West Coast, both because of COVID-19 issues.

Adams has contracted the virus, while Rutten tested negative but is required to isolate for seven days as he is a household contact of a positive case.

Senior assistant coach Blake Caracella will take the reins against the Crows, when the Bombers, who are 0-3, will seek to make amends for their worst start to a season since 1967.

“Ben has tested negative but is a household contact and will isolate for the required period of time,” Essendon football boss Josh Mahoney said.

“We understand this is the landscape and like many other clubs at the moment, will adjust to the situation accordingly.

“As such, Ben will remain involved in the program remotely.

“Blake Caracella will take on the duties of the senior coach position in Ben’s absence over the coming days, with our program remaining fully focused on our preparations for Sunday’s game against Adelaide.”

Collingwood coach Craig McRae confirmed Adams won’t play against West Coast after the midfield stalwart tested positive.

McRae also revealed on SEN radio on Wednesday only five of his players have not yet contracted the virus.

Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir and Carlton counterpart Michael Voss have also missed matches through the AFL’s health and safety protocols.

Longmuir will miss a second game in as many weeks, with Jaymie Graham to continue in his caretaker role against GWS on Saturday night.

Essendon confirmed all other staff and players completed rapid antigen tests as normal upon arriving at the club on Wednesday morning.

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