The AFL and the AFL Players’ Association have today written to all Clubs to advise of return to train dates for AFL players ahead of the 2021 AFL Premiership Season.

First to fourth-year players will return to training on Monday December 7 for a two-week block of training, while all other players will resume training on Wednesday January 6, 2021.
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.”

AFL Players’ Association CEO Paul Marsh said:
“We are pleased to reach agreement with the AFL on dates that respect the leave arrangements of the CBA, and also find the right balance to minimising pre-season disruption for clubs and players as we head towards the start of the 2021 season. 
“The agreed dates will also allow players a good off-season break to provide them with the chance to recover from an incredibly busy 2020 season.”

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

1. Monday December 7 to Friday December 18

- First – 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.

2. 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.

3. 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 & Away season.

This pre-season model is as a result of a season impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and at this stage is only in place ahead of the 2021 Toyota AFL Premiership Season. No timeline or structure has been set for future pre-seasons.