GWS Giants AFL captain Stephen Coniglio has joined senior Nelson Bay Marlins teams in sharing messages of support to a group of under-9 players who were sidelined for two weeks after being in close contact with a COVID-positive child.
The Nelson Bay Blue Marlins side played their first game of the season on July 19, but days later was asked to isolate at home after a member of the team, a child aged under 10, tested positive for the virus.
In a video shared to the Nelson Bay Junior Marlins AFL Club on Sunday night, Coniglio said he was thinking of the young team.
"I know you guys are going through a rough time at the moment. Not only myself, but the rest of the Giants have got all our support behind you. Good luck. Keep each other busy and communicate between each other during this tough time," he said.
It followed videos of support from the Marlins senior men and women's teams shared to the junior AFL club's Facebook page on Friday.
The teams recorded messages of support following Thursday's training sessions.
"We just wanted to say [we're] really sorry for what's going on. Hopefully you keep your heads together, stay close to your family, keep your head up, keep going through this two week period and you'll be back on the field with us training in no time. Keep your head up... stay focused on what's ahead boys," was the mens team's message.
"The whole footy club is behind you," added former professional AFL player and now Marlins team member Craig Bird at the end.
In their video, the Nelson Bay-Port Stephens women's team said they were thinking of the junior Marlins and sending out "lots of love".
"Stay cool, hope the internet is still working, Netflix is going strong, clean your rooms while you're at home," came the first and humorous part of the message before it turned to football skills.
"Keep up those footy skills. Practice in the garden. You'll be back in the field in no time."
All junior Marlins teams have sat out two competition rounds following the under-9s entering home isolation.
"COVID has been a learning curve for us all. Out of safety and respect for not only our members and families but also the community we feel this is the best decision," the club stated.
Teams will be back for round four, which will be played Sunday, August 9.
Round two and three games for the Nelson Bay club will be rescheduled for later in the season.