AFL remains optimistic the season will kick-off as planned on March 18
AFL remains optimistic the season will kick-off as planned on March 18

Could WA lockdown impact start of AFL season?

The AFL remains optimistic the regular season will kick-off as planned on March 18 despite the positive COVID-19 case in Western Australia.

On Monday, the league was forced to postpone two Round 2 AFLW matches between Adelaide - Fremantle and GWS Giants - West Coast due to the single case in the west.

After flying out of Perth, the Crows were required to isolate for two weeks in South Australia, while the GWS Giants are in lockdown in New South Wales until Friday evening in line with the Perth restrictions on the Eagles and Dockers.

Neither the Crows or Giants are allowed out to exercise.

The situation threatened to throw an unexpected curve ball into the league's AFL fixture plans less than five weeks out from the AAMI Community Series.

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Carlton and Richmond will kick off the 2021 season. Picture: AAP Images
Carlton and Richmond will kick off the 2021 season. Picture: AAP Images

But confirmation on Monday there had been no new cases of COVID-19 in WA buoyed hopes the state would get any outbreak under control and not significantly impact the AFL season.

The league is closely monitoring the situation in the west and could yet be forced to temporarily relocate West Coast and Fremantle if community transmission in Perth soared over the next month.

There are contingency plans in the event interstate hubs will be required for a second straight season.

But the AFL is looking to start the season on time with clubs hopeful crowds will be capped at 50 per cent capacity for the opening round games in Melbourne.

Clubs remained intent on preparing for the season as normal despite the exercise restrictions imposed on West Coast and Fremantle players in line with the community rules this week.

As the Herald Sun reported on Sunday night, the Eagles and Dockers are only permitted to train for one hour and only with one other teammate per day until Friday evening.

 

In a statement on Monday Eagles' chief executive Trevor Nisbett said the club was "still not sure" what it meant for the men's and women's team but was adamant it would "abide by the Government's lockdown rules".

Fremantle is scheduled to travel to Melbourne to take on the Demons in Round 1 at the MCG, while the Eagles host Gold Coast at Optus Stadium.

The league already cut the number of official pre-season games from two to one to limit the amount of interstate travel in the lead-in to Round 1.

There will also be one unofficial scratch match for each club before the March 4-8 pre-season series.

Originally published as Could WA lockdown impact start of AFL season?



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