Victorian-based AFL players have been told by the league to limit their movement outside of their homes, because of new coronavirus cases in the state.
- The AFL will not punish players if they breach the recommendation
- The league said “extensive” cleaning was underway at the MCG after a positive case visited on Sunday
- Teams due to travel interstate this weekend have been asked to travel early and undergo testing
But the AFL said players who breach the recommendation would not be punished.
“The AFL has advised all Victorian teams that players and staff should minimise their movements outside of their homes for the time being as it continues to monitor the evolving COVID situation in Victoria,” an AFL spokesperson said.
Essendon, who will play West Coast in Perth on Saturday night, flew out of Melbourne today.
All players and staff will then be tested and isolate until given the all-clear, on the advice of the Western Australia government and the AFL.
Carlton, set to play the Swans in Sydney on Sunday, flew there this afternoon and will also isolate until receiving the results of their tests.
Hawthorn had planned to fly to Darwin on Thursday for its match against Gold Coast on Saturday night, but the fixture will now not go ahead in the Northern Territory.
Meanwhile, the AFL said it was aware a spectator who attended last Sunday’s match between Essendon and the Kangaroos at Melbourne’s Docklands stadium had since tested positive to COVID-19.
“All patrons who were sitting on level one in between aisles five and 28 or level three in between aisles six and 29 are being contacted by the Victorian government and asked to immediately get tested and isolate until they receive a negative test,” an AFL statement read.
“The Department of Health [is] also asking anyone else who attended the game and [was] seated outside of the areas listed to monitor for symptoms and to get tested if symptoms develop.”
The AFL said a “deep clean” of the identified zone was being carried out.
The AFL and Melbourne Cricket Club contacted all fans seated between bay M1 and M16 of the Great Southern Stand, asking them to get tested and isolate immediately.
At this stage, fans will still be allowed to attend AFL matches this weekend at the MCG and Docklands, although there will be additional rules for spectators.
Victoria’s Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, Martin Pakula, said the additional rules would likely relate to the wearing of masks and overall capacity.
Current restrictions allow for 85 per cent capacity at the 100,024-person capacity MCG and 53,359-person capacity Docklands stadium.
Mr Pakula also said it was possible the roof at Docklands would be open to make the venue outdoors.
Acting Premier James Merlino said later this could change if the outbreak worsens, with the state’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton adding the matches could be cancelled.
Docklands is set to host three matches this weekend, starting with Friday’s big top-of-the-table clash between the Western Bulldogs and Melbourne.
The MCG will host two matches, starting with Collingwood’s match against Geelong on Saturday.
Bulldogs tested for COVID
Western Bulldogs players and staff all tested negative to COVID-19 this morning after a club official had attended an exposure site at Maribyrnong’s Highpoint Shopping Centre.
In the NRL, the Melbourne Storm, who are set to play the Brisbane Broncos in Brisbane on Thursday night, will remain in Queensland instead of returning home.
Last season the Storm played all its “home” games after the resumption post-COVID on the Sunshine Coast and the side will once again base itself at Twin Waters “given the current fluid COVID-19 situation in Melbourne” a statement said.
The Storm have already been in camp in Queensland for the past two weeks given two of its last three matches — including this Thursday’s match against the Broncos — took place at Lang Park.
There are no Super Netball fixtures scheduled for Melbourne this weekend but the Vixens will travel to Queensland today ahead of their round-five clash against the Firebirds.
The Vixens were scheduled to travel to Queensland on Friday.
The Collingwood Magpies will travel to Sydney on Saturday as planned ahead of their Super Netball match against the NSW Swifts the following day.
The NBL has moved two games from Melbourne, with Saturday’s fixture between South East Melbourne Phoenix and the Taipans now to be played on Friday in Cairns.
Monday’s game between Melbourne United and the Taipans has also been shifted to Cairns.
In the A-League, Western United is due to host Melbourne Victory on Friday night at AAMI Park, while Melbourne City is down to host Newcastle at the same venue on Saturday.