AFL Rd 1 - Essendon v Fremantle
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 21: Brandon Zerk-Thatcher of the Bombers warms up during the round 1 AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the Fremantle Dockers at Marvel Stadium on March 21, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Essendon defender Brandon Zerk-Thatcher has been suspended for Round 2 for breaching the AFL's COVID-19 protocols.

The club released the following statement on the matter via their website.

"Essendon Football Club can confirm Brandon Zerk-Thatcher will be unavailable for match selection this week due to a breach in the AFL’s current Return to Play protocols," the statement read.

"Zerk-Thatcher was in breach of the AFL’s living arrangements and came forward to the club to self-report. He underwent two separate COVID-19 tests that returned negative results prior to returning to the club.

"The club, in conjunction with the AFL, have investigated the matter and as a result, have handed Zerk-Thatcher a one-match suspension for the breach."

General manager of football Dan Richardson added: “All AFL players and staff are aware of their social responsibility to adhere to the return to play protocols. The club will continue to educate Brandon.

“Brandon will continue to train with the playing group and will be available for senior selection next week.”