Crows move Varnhagen to inactive list after jab refusal

ADELAIDE dual premiership defender Deni Varnhagen has been moved to the inactive list after refusing to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

The AFL's vaccination policy requires all AFLW players to have received their first jab by November 19 and be fully vaccinated by December 17.

If unwilling to do so, the policy states a club and player can:

  • Transfer the player to the inactive player list (meaning the player can be replaced) and pay the player 25% of (for AFLW) their contracted salary or (for AFL) the CBA minimum base salary
  • Keep the player on their playing list (meaning the player cannot be replaced) and pay the player not less than 25% of (for AFLW) their contracted salary or (for AFL) 25% of the CBA minimum base salary
  • Terminate the player’s playing contract with the agreement of the player
  • Exercise any rights the club may have at law to terminate the player’s playing contract, but such rights are not to be exercised prior to 18 May 2022. 
Crow Deni Varnhagen celebrates on the siren against Collingwood in round nine, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Varnhagen, a nurse, initially told the Crows she was unwilling to receive a vaccination in mid-October, and last weekend participated in anti-vax protests in Adelaide.

"The AFL’s initial vaccination deadline is still a fortnight away however, Deni has made it well known she is against vaccination in this instance," Adelaide CEO Tim Silvers said.

"We have a team-first approach and the timing of this decision has been made in the best interests of the team and its preparation for the upcoming season.

"Our club supports the League’s policy and we strongly encourage people to be vaccinated for the benefit of community health and safety.

"We would like to acknowledge and thank Deni for the significant contribution she has made to our women’s program over the past five seasons."

EVERY CLUB’S LIST Your squad for the 2022 season

AFLW clubs have the ability to replace players on the inactive list for the upcoming season, and it is usually exercised in relation to long-term injuries, breaks for mental health and wellbeing and work commitments.

The Crows can wait until the eve of the season (start of January) to replace Varnhagen, and as the sole AFLW club in South Australia, have access to a deep talent pool across the state.

The club already replaced inactive players Ange Foley (ACL), Rhiannon Metcalfe (work) and Jess Sedunary (cycling) through extra picks in the NAB AFLW Draft in July.