EletiofeQueensland becomes 'home of AFL' as six Victorian teams...

Queensland becomes ‘home of AFL’ as six Victorian teams relocate there


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All 10 Victorian AFL teams will leave the state later this week, with six to relocate to Queensland after a rise in Covid-19 cases forced the clubs to seek alternative temporary homes.

St Kilda, North Melbourne, Essendon, Western Bulldogs, Richmond and Carlton will be hosted in Queensland for the foreseeable future, the state’s premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, confirmed on Friday.

Geelong and Collingwood will make a one-week pit stop in Sydney before flying to Perth for their Western Australia hub. NSW will host Melbourne and Hawthorn as the AFL moves quickly to get Melbourne-based sides out of Victoria.

The teams will have to quarantine under the chief health officer’s directions upon entry to the state, where they will be based in locations spread across the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast.

“Essentially Queensland is going to be the home of the AFL – they should give us the grand final after this,” Palaszczuk said. “Four teams are going to be on the Gold Coast and two on the Sunshine Coast.

“There will be a lot more matches at the Gabba and Metricon and of course our capacity is 50% of the public being able to go see these sports stars in action. [They’ll be here] for the rest of the season is my understanding.”

This week’s round five will continue as scheduled before the Victoria-based clubs fly out at the conclusion the round.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said the league’s approach to the situation so far had been “flexible and agile”, and would continue to be so.

“I have said on a number of occasions that this would be a season of challenges, and that the one certainty is that before we completed the 2020 AFL premiership season there would be more unique challenges along the way,” he said.

“The Victorian clubs now temporarily moving interstate are playing their part in ensuring our season endures in a year that will continue to challenge us all.”

Before the announcement was made, Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said some of his players might opt to stay put, a situation the club would have to accept.

“The difficult thing, I think for everyone who’s going to a hub, is just leaving their families behind,” he said. “I think we’ve got eight dads and the boys will make decisions on whether or not [they go].

“We’d love to take everyone with us, we’ll definitely take all our players. We’re hoping to be able to take partners and young children if that’s what the choice is – but there might be one or two who may not be able to go and that’s fine and so we’ll work through that.

“But I think everyone’s probably looking forward to it more than anything, and continuing on with the season, and it probably eliminates a lot of the risk back here. We’ll have some freedoms after the quarantine and I think all our crew are looking forward to that.”

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