With the AFL revamping its fixture for the impending resumption of football, four clubs will be denied home games in the early stages of the season, reports The Herald Sun.
With strict border restrictions becoming an increasing hurdle and the AFL’s persistence to get a season going, the West Coast Eagles, Fremantle Dockers, Port Adelaide Power and Adelaide Crows look set to play all games interstate in the early rounds.
The AFL will only release the first few rounds of its revamped fixture to give them ample flexibility in case circumstances around the country change and restrictions are eased.
Adelaide and Port Adelaide are set to receive special exemption from the 14-day quarantine period upon returning home from their interstate games, but interstate teams will be unable to enter South Australia, meaning both SA clubs will play all of their games out of the state until restrictions are lifted.
WA is taking a harder stance with its restrictions, with the Dockers and Eagles unable to fly in and out of the state without adhering to the 14-day quarantine period, forcing both teams to re-locate during this period upon the AFL’s return, which could be as soon as June 18th if all goes to plan.
WA Health Minister Roger Cook believes the flying in and out of the state for the Dockers and Eagles is too risky.
“This government won’t compromise on the health and safety of its citizens,” Mr Cook said.
“There is no confidence the AFL can maintain infection control and prevent infection spread among players and staff under the current proposed model. There is a risk it could contribute to the further spread of the virus.”
South Australia is yet to formally decide on its restrictions for outer-state clubs, with Premier Steve Marshall saying on Thursday that SA teams may only play games outside the state.
“It’s quite possible that in the early stages (of the season) South Australian teams will only be playing away games before other teams will be permitted to come back into South Australia.
“South Australian players might be able to train here, stay here in their home state, go out for games but then return in a sort of a semi-quarantine situation, so they can still train and they can still get to the next game.
“That’s one of the options that’s being considered but a lot of it is going to depend on when is the season starting and what the infection rate is with the various jurisdictions at that time.”
Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett has lashed out at Tasmanian premier Peter Gutwein for making it known that the state aren’t willing to host games without crowds.
“I’ve got to say that’s very shortsighted and very selfish,” Kennett said of the Apple Isle decision.
Crows CEO Andrew Fagan said the club will be flexible in its bid for games to return.
“Our wish will always be to play games under a traditional home and away format, which includes hosting opposition teams at Adelaide Oval and in a perfect world with our members and fans in attendance to cheer us on.
“However, in these unprecedented times, we will always heed the advice and direction of medical experts and acknowledge that we must put the health and wellbeing of the community first and foremost.
“With this in mind, our club is open minded and willing to be flexible to ensure the return of football as soon as possible.
“We are also aware of ongoing discussions between the AFL and State Government, albeit our club is not directly involved.”