There is mass confusion over Adelaide and Port Adelaide’s plans as their state moves towards lockdown.
In addition, two teams are ready to suspend the season amid lone players and border chaos.
Get all the latest AFL-related COVID-19 news in our live blog below.
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3:50 p.m. – TWO CLUBS OPEN TO PAUSE THE SEASON
Tom Morris reports …
GWS and Sydney are two clubs that are said to be open for a one-week break.
The AFL remains unwavering in its desire to break through despite several obstacles that appear on a daily basis.
Foxfooty.com.au has confirmed that the Giants and Swans – although they do not wish to be seen as plaintiffs at a time when millions are stranded – would support the suspension of the season.
GWS and Sydney are not pushing for a week off, but rival clubs are aware of their preference if given the choice.
The Swans have been louder behind closed doors given the difficulties they have faced and would support a league decision to end the season. The Giants haven’t made their voices heard, but would just be open to the idea.
At both NSW clubs, staff have been removed from their families with minimal warning and some of those employees, who are paid far from player or coach salaries, are locked in hotel quarantine for an additional eight days.
Both clubs are pushed to the brink and delicately walk a PR line that balances fairness and common sense versus being seen as whiners.
The league will continue regardless, knowing that any hiatus would not guarantee a restart in seven days anyway.
The AFL Players’ Association position on Wednesday morning was to move forward with the season. However, it is not clear whether the announcements at the border changed this position.
AFLPA is working to make things clear for players in South Australia, among many others across the country.
3:15 p.m. – MASS CONFUSION AS CLUBS SAID NOT TO FLY
Tom Morris reports …
Covid chaos reached new levels in South Australia on Tuesday when the two clubs were packed and ready to fly interstate.
In Port Adelaide, two buses were outside Power’s training center when the club learned they would ultimately not be going to Melbourne.
Players and staff had had two hours to pack, but will now be spending the night in South Australia. The club had no idea where or when this weekend’s game against Collingwood was.
A similar drama happened across town at Crows HQ. Senior officials are aware their flight to Melbourne has been canceled, but believe there is an external chance they could make it to Queensland within the next 24 hours.
Another scenario that both clubs are aware of is that a Showdown is played in Round 19, while Collingwood would face Hawthorn, the two forward games of Round 21.
12:30 p.m. – GAMES FACING A PILE OF SCRAP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LOCKOUT
Adelaide and Port Adelaide are both heading to Victoria, who has been told to pack their bags for five weeks, with their 19th round home games due to be relocated.
Foxfooty.com.au confirmed that both teams will travel to Melbourne at 4 p.m. this afternoon after South Australia announced a seven-day lockdown, starting at 6 p.m. tonight.
There were already concerns about whether Crows and Power would be allowed to train under new restrictions ahead of the lockdown announcement on Tuesday morning.
When the lockdown was confirmed, SA health chief Nicola Spurrier said the state should consult with the AFL to see if both games can go as planned.
Port Adelaide was scheduled to host Collingwood in Travis Boak’s 300th game on Friday night, while Adelaide was scheduled to host Hawthorn on Saturday night.
The Age reports that both games will “very likely” be played at Marvel Stadium.
Crows-Hawks (6:10 p.m.) could head to Marvel as a double header with the Blues-Kangaroos opener, since Bulldogs-Demons are scheduled for the MCG at 7:25 p.m.
The GMHBA stadium in Geelong would also be available as a neutral site.
Five cases of the Delta strain of COVID-19 have been detected in Adelaide.
COVIDSAFE PLANS FOR STADIUMS DUE TO DELTA IN THE WORKS
Fans may be unable to purchase food and drink inside the stadiums and are expected to wear masks at all times as part of the COVIDSafe plans being considered due to the spread of the Delta Sprain.
It comes as Victoria’s lockdown has been extended to Tuesday, July 27 at midnight.
Victoria’s current outbreak has spread to MCG and AAMI Park, with fans in different bays and even at different levels later testing positive, regarding the state government.
There was also a major concern about how the participants were crowded when queuing for the AAMI Park rugby test.
SEN reports that the MCG is working on a new plan for after the current lockdown which could potentially include:
– No food or drink for sale in the stadiums;
– Masks to wear at all times;
– Staggered entry times to avoid queues;
– A greater distribution of seats.
Victorian stadiums saw crowds of up to 85% earlier this year, but that was before the Delta strain became the dominant type of Covid in Australia.
The slow pace of vaccine deployment by the federal government and concerns about Delta’s transmissibility make it an unlikely bar to be reached again in 2021.
SA CLUBS FORBIDDEN TO TRAIN WHEN MORE CASES EMERGED
South Australia will enter a seven-day lockdown from 6 p.m. local time tonight after a fifth case of Covid is detected in the state.
Already, the Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide had been banned from the training track until at least Friday, unless they obtained an exemption from the South Australian government.
This was after restrictions were placed on the state following new local cases of Covid on Monday.
The Crows and Power are reportedly currently working to secure an exemption from SA Health to ensure their preparations for this weekend’s games are not disrupted.
Both clubs are expected to play in South Africa this weekend without a crowd, with Port Adelaide taking on Collingwood on Friday night and Adelaide taking on Hawthorn on Saturday night.
SA chief health officer Nicola Spurrier said the state would work with the AFL to ensure both matches can go ahead.
Victorian clubs will have to fly in and out of Adelaide before a 60-hour quarantine period, Collingwood to begin on their Tuesday night.
EAGLES MUST BE “DILIGENT” IN THEIR ACTIVITIES
The West Coast Eagles will be judicious in their activities away from the club after the effect the latest wave of Covid cases across the country has had on the AFL season.
The league was forced to reschedule games between games in round 19 and 20 to combat border control complications, while 15 Swans and Giants players and staff as well as Western Bulldogs star Josh Dunkley have been forced to self-quarantine after visiting exhibition sites.
It comes as the list of coronavirus hotspots around Melbourne has grown, as players at 12 clubs are now living under AFL’s additional Covid protocols.
Eagles coach Adam Simpson said 7NEWS Perth that his club would avoid taking risks that could disrupt his campaign.
“It’s a precedent now, so we have to be very careful and diligent when we go out,” he said.
“We have to understand that the consequences could be that we don’t play. I think the AFL explained that to us earlier in the year. At the moment, unless there are 10 or 15 players missing due to the situation of the game.
“There was a little more freedom in Melbourne last time around so we have to keep an eye on things personally and make sure we’re doing the right thing.”
“NO REASON” WHY TIGER CATS SHOULD NOT BE MOVED TO GMHBA STADIUM
Hawthorn legend Jason Dunstall says he sees “no reason” why Geelong’s home clash against Richmond on Sunday cannot be moved to GMHBA stadium.
The AFL reportedly rejected the Cats’ offer to move the game from the MCG to the Cattery – which likely won’t be able to accommodate a crowd due to Victoria’s Covid restrictions.
But speaking on Fox Footy’s AFL 360 On Monday night, Dunstall was puzzled as to why the game cannot be moved as a “one off”.
“I don’t see any reason why we can’t do this. There is no reason we should not allow this to happen, ”Dunstall.
AFL 360 Co-host Gerard Whateley responded, “The only thing that makes sense to me – (and) I’ve heard the discussions around commercial contracts and I don’t believe it for a second – is not to create a previous for September. “
To which Dunstall replied, “But can’t you say it right off the bat? Say, “Yes Geelong, you can have this game. But don’t come to us at the finals and think we’re going to do the same.
“It’s unique, go and enjoy your game at home, but don’t come back and ask. It can’t be that hard ‘”.