Five AFL clubs leaving Vic for Queensland


    Five AFL clubs leaving Vic for Queensland

    North Melbourne and Essendon will join a growing list of AFL clubs shifting to Queensland as concern grows about the latest Covid-19 outbreak in Victoria

    Sydney and GWS flew out of Melbourne on Thursday morning after being told of their latest move late on Wednesday night.

    The Western Bulldogs, who are due to play Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium on Saturday, were departing earlier than planned on Thursday.

    GWS Giants coach Leon Cameron (left) and Swans coach John Longmire (right) speak at a press conference on July 14

    GWS Giants coach Leon Cameron (left) and Swans coach John Longmire (right) speak at a press conference on July 14

    And the Victorian exodus is not ending there with the Kangaroos’ match against Essendon on Sunday now moved from Marvel Stadium to Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast.

    The Bombers are scheduled to play GWS in round 19, before a date with the Swans the following week.

    Those games will likely be played in Queensland, especially if the Victorian COVID-19 outbreak worsens.

    The Sydney teams were meant to play their derby in Ballarat on Saturday but that is now likely to be played at the Gabba in Brisbane.

    Both clubs have been based in Victoria since June 22 due to NSW’s coronavirus crisis but will now call Queensland home for the immediate future.

    ‘The decisions we have made this morning regarding the locations of a number of teams have been taken out of an abundance of caution,’ the AFL’s executive general manager, clubs and broadcasting Travis Auld said in a statement.

    ‘Our approach remains to take risk out of the season where the opportunity presents.

    ‘We continue to work towards our priority of reuniting the families of both the GWS Giants and Sydney Swans and the decision to relocate both sides to Queensland provides maximum flexibility required to achieve that.

    ‘The Western Bulldogs’ travel is one day earlier than scheduled and provides the Dogs with certainty as they prepare for their match against the Gold Coast Suns.

    ‘The decision to relocate the North Melbourne and Essendon match to Queensland is a precautionary measure that provides flexibility for future rounds.’

    North players and staffers have been told to pack for a three-week stint away from home.

    ‘We need to do what we can to keep the season moving,’ North’s chief executive Ben Amarfio said in a statement.

    ‘Sadly, that means … our game is being relocated to Metricon and we will have to wait and see what happens beyond this weekend.

    ‘We understand that it’s a cautious response but we appreciate the AFL is doing its best to manage risk and provide flexibility for future rounds.’

    Queensland’s chief health officer Jeannette Young said she was not worried about Victorian AFL teams entering the state.

    ‘They’ve got really good plans,’ she told reporters on Thursday as Victoria reported 10 new local Covid-19 cases.

    ‘The NRL and the AFL have been absolutely fantastic because they’ve been doing this for so long.

    ‘They know exactly what they’re doing and they make sure that it happens.’

    The Brisbane Lions arrived in Victoria on Wednesday ahead of Friday night’s clash with Richmond at the MCG.

    AFL meetings on Thursday will decide what happens with the remainder of round 18 as exposure sites in Victoria continue to be added.



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