Airborne as the Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast Suns leave Queensland
The Brisbane Lions are poised for a hasty departure from Queensland and will head to Melbourne on Tuesday afternoon amid the AFL’s growing COVID-19 logistics crisis.
Club sources said the Lions, who are scheduled to face the Crows at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday, were due to leave on Wednesday. But his departure was anticipated in light of Queensland’s developing COVID-19 situation. Sources also indicated that the Gold Coast Suns will leave Queensland on Tuesday, leaving the AFL game on the air.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will hold a press conference at 11am. M. AEST.
The AFL was cautiously optimistic Monday night that it would not need to change any more round 16 games, despite COVID-19 outbreaks across the country, with the Crows-Lions, Thursday’s Gold Coast-Richmond at night and Fremantle on Saturday night. Carlton agrees everything is ready to proceed as planned.
But the league now faces a new problem on the Western front after Western Australia announced a four-day lockdown on Monday night. The lockout casts further doubt on Fremantle’s ability to host Carlton in Perth on Saturday night. It also potentially calls into question the move from West Coast to Victoria to play Sydney at Geelong on Sunday.
It is increasingly likely that almost every team in the AFL will soon be in Victoria.
Fremantle has suspended ticket sales for its game against Carlton at Optus Stadium, pending further guidance from the WA government. West Coast, which has already faced the financial shock of its game against the Western Bulldogs on Sunday which was closed to the public, also hopes that a corporate function of the 1,000-person club in Crown Perth can continue as planned.
The South Australian government closed the border with Queensland on Sunday, so the Lions’ early move to Victoria is expected to allow them to fly in and out of South Africa on game day.