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Naitanui understands AFL’s jab stance

Star West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui says it will be interesting to see what happens to the careers of AFL and AFLW players who refuse to be vaccinated in the coming months.

The AFL released its long-awaited vaccination policy on Thursday, and all AFL and AFLW players will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by mid-February or they will be barred from playing and training.

Melbourne premiership forward Tom McDonald, who is fully vaccinated, has been one of the few voices within the AFL to publicly oppose mandatory vaccinations.

Adelaide’s Deni Varnhagen, a two-time AFLW premiership player who is also a registered nurse, faces an uncertain future after informing the Crows she is not yet willing to be vaccinated.

Naitanui is fully vaccinated himself, and says he understands the AFL’s stance.

“It’s a tough one,” Naitanui told SEN.

“I’ve always been for everyone having a choice. But when it comes to the vaccination – I’ve got both of my needles.

“And like a lot of other people have said, I’m not really getting the vaccination for myself, I’m getting it for others who are more vulnerable.

“For me, I understand (why we need it), especially being a Perth team, we’re back and forth from every state every second week. It makes sense to get the vaccination.

“But it’s going to be interesting the next few weeks and months to see who decides to and who decides not to get it, and how it impacts their playing careers.”

Meanwhile, GWS and Brisbane have completed a pick swap that will hardly get the heart racing.

The Giants have received pick No.54 from the Lions in exchange for a future third-round selection which is currently tied to Port Adelaide.

“It ensures we’re in a strong position to have flexibility across our selections as well as prepare for any Academy bids that may occur on the night,” GWS general manager of football Jason McCartney said.

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