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Sydney looms large for AFL games after SA border decision

The South Australian government decision has thrown a spanner in the works for the AFL fixture.

The South Australian government decision has thrown a spanner in the works for the AFL fixture.Credit:AAP

While games had been scheduled in Melbourne between St Kilda and Port Adelaide and North Melbourne and Adelaide (both in round seven), the AFL confirmed that it would reorganise the fixture for round six and seven in response to the SA decision.

Before the announcement on Tuesday, the Crows and Power, who have been based in a hub in Queensland since round three, would have been able to return home to SA after the games in Melbourne. The border had been set to reopen on Monday July 20.

In round six, Adelaide had been due to face West Coast and Port Adelaide to play the Giants, with both games played in Queensland, but it is unclear whether these games will go ahead as fixtured.

The league will press on with Geelong and Collingwood’s 21-day stints in Western Australia, where they will play each other and then Fremantle and West Coast.

The AFL also indicated that Victorian teams that went on the road to meet quarantine rules would not necessarily be in “hubs”, though they would likely stay in one location for at least two weeks.

As it stands, SA has opened borders with Queensland, WA and the Northern Territory, and decisions are expected soon on the ACT and NSW borders.

The AFL may cycle more than two clubs through other states, with the ACT, Queensland and NSW all in play and even potentially the NT.

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The SA government’s border decision comes a day after Queensland’s government adopted fresh coronavirus protocols involving Victorians, which also caused fixturing problems for the AFL.

“We know that this will have a dramatic effect on the AFL,” South Australian Premier Steven Marshall told reporters on Tuesday.

“But we are adopting a position in South Australia which is not dissimilar to what has been announced for Queensland.

“So any teams coming in from Victoria to South Australia will have to do that two weeks of isolation.

“Any South Australian team that plays a Victorian team or goes to Victoria to play a Victorian team will have to do that two weeks of isolation on return to our state.”

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