The AFL and AFL Players’ Association have revealed return to train dates for players ahead of the 2021 season. 

First to fourth year players will first be allowed back into training on Monday, December 7, while all other players will resume their preparations next year on Wednesday, January 6 2021.

The later start to pre-season training comes after a COVID-19 pandemic impacted year, which forced the AFL into playing the home and away season well into September, with the upcoming Grand Final on October 24 poised to be the latest time a season decider has been played in history.

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AFL General Manager Football Operations Steve Hocking said the AFL was pleased to work with clubs and the AFL Players’ Association to confirm these dates.
 
“The confirmation of these dates allows all clubs and players to best prepare for the 2021 Toyota AFL Premiership Season,” Hocking said.
 
“The three-part model we have put in place ahead of the 2021 season takes into account the late end to the current season and factors in feedback from clubs on their preferred pre-season structure.
 
“This model will ensure players have minimal interruptions to training, following the new year break, which is optimal for maximising player preparation ahead of next season.”

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Clubs and players will return to training over three calendar periods, detailed below:

Monday December 7 to Friday December 18

  • First to fourth-year players to complete a two-week block of training between December 7 – 18, with all normal hours/days off a week applicable per the CBA.

Wednesday January 6 to Saturday February 13

  • Players, including players to be selected in the 2020 NAB AFL Draft, to participate in the AFLPA Induction Camp and the AFLPA Delegates Conference as required on January 4 and January 5, 2021.
  • All players to return to training on January 6 to complete a six-week block, with all normal hours / days off a week applicable per the CBA.

Sunday February 14 to the commencement of the 2021 Toyota AFL Premiership Season

  • A further four-week block of full training in preparation for the commencement of the home and away season.