An AFL hub in Western Australia appears set to go ahead, with hopes rising that Victorian teams can play against each other within the 14-day quarantine period instead of having a bye.
The Eagles and Dockers will be forced to spend at least the next four weeks on the Gold Coast due to WA’s tough border-closure stance.
Under WA’s current laws, anyone arriving into the state will need to be quarantined for 14 days.
Confirmed. Lock it in.
The @AFL will have a hub in WA once the games in QLD are done.
Possibility of one more round being played on GoldCoast, absolute worst case scenario two – but that’ll be it. Interstate clubs will fly in and play each other during WA quarantine @7NewsPerth
— Ryan Daniels (@FootyRhino) June 9, 2020
Under that scenario it seemed almost impossible an AFL hub could be set up in Perth given it would be too inconvenient for visiting teams to be out of action for 14 days.
But WA Premier Mark McGowan says there could be a way around it.
“If they played games between Victorian teams, for instance, in Western Australia within that two-week quarantine period and they were quarantined within the venue during that period, that may well meet the requirements,” McGowan said.
“But that’s a decision for the chief health officer.”
Under that scenario, Fremantle and West Coast could face off in a western derby on the same weekend that the four other Victorian sides are also in action.
All games would be played at Optus Stadium, with players staying at the nearby Crown Perth.
Fremantle would then be able to face one of the visiting teams the following weekend once the 14-day quarantine period has expired, with West Coast hosting one of the other Victorian rivals.
It’s unlikely that Melbourne, Richmond or Essendon would be part of that hub given they have already played – or are due to play in the coming weeks – one of the WA clubs.
The AFL is also exploring the possibility of having a hub in South Australia.
A WA hub would mean some Victorian teams would be forced to ‘host’ a home game in Perth.
But despite that and the inconvenience of a hub, Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said his club would be open to the idea given it’s for the greater good of the game.
“It’s not so much a sacrifice, it’s an investment in this season, it’s an investment in the game itself,” Buckley said.
“You need money coming in, you need revenue coming in to fund some of the programs that the AFL have put in place, let alone the football clubs.
“Anything that we can do to get it up and going, I think we are up to do, and we’ve got to stay adaptable and agile to be able to do that.
“If it means that we travel into a hub and play some games in WA or in Queensland – or even South Australia – depending on what the back end of the season looks like, we’d be comfortable to do that.”