West Coast and Fremantle players are rejoicing after confirmation they won’t have to quarantine in a hotel when they return to Western Australia.
With both of WA’s AFL clubs in a month-long hub on the Gold Coast, there were fears players would have to spend 14 days quarantining in a Perth hotel on returning to WA.
But Premier Mark McGowan says that quarantine period can be served at their regular homes, subject to strict conditions.
The two clubs can train during their quarantine period, and are also free to play each other in a western derby.
“I think we’ve worked out a fair and reasonable – but strict – arrangement for the Eagles and Dockers,” McGowan said.
There’s still a chance Fremantle and West Coast will need to spend an extra week or two in their Gold Coast hub before a similar Perth set-up is established.
McGowan is also set to give permission for Victorian sides to play each other while serving their 14-day quarantine period in Perth.
Crowds of up to 30,000 will be able to attend games from Saturday at Perth’s Optus Stadium.
There will be no limits by July 18, meaning up to 60,000 people will be allowed to go to games in Perth.
That’s a juicy financial carrot for the AFL, which has lost millions of dollars through the coronavirus pandemic.
In another boon for the AFL, South Australia’s government has announced Adelaide Oval can be filled to half its capacity from Monday.
The move effectively means crowds up to 26,750 will be allowed to attend AFL games at the 53,500-capacity venue.
Both Port Adelaide and Adelaide remain at a Gold Coast hub and are scheduled to play their next two matches in Queensland.
Meanwhile, McGowan said WA would be keen to host the grand final should Victoria be unable to.
Victoria on Tuesday recorded its seventh-consecutive day of double-digit coronavirus cases, sparking concerns the grand final might need to be moved away from the MCG.
“If Victoria still has community spread (and) they can’t have a grand final at the MCG, clearly the next best place is Optus Stadium, subject to a lot of ‘ifs’ along the road,” McGowan said.
“It’s worth us considering if we can get the health settings right.
“Once we bring down our restrictions as part of phase 5 on July 18, Optus Stadium can be full. If the borders are able to come down before the grand final, or if the teams meet appropriate quarantine arrangements before the grand final, clearly it could be held here.”