Adherence to AFL protocols enabled Geelong and the Brisbane Lions to play on Friday night after the Victorian Government declared Brisbane and the Moreton Bay region a hotspot just before the Lions ran on to GMHBA Stadium to take on the Cats.
It meant the Victorian government was able to grant Lions players, coaches and officials an exemption to the declaration that all people who had travelled from the affected regions to Victoria since March 12 had to isolate immediately and be tested for COVID.
However Channel 7 commentators Luke Hodge and Wayne Carey were among those who left the match as a result of the Victorian government’s decision, along with supporters asked to leave the ground over the public address system at quarter-time.
When the ground announcer told the crowd the news, which was accompanied by a notification on the scoreboard, there were audible groans from the crowd.
The pensive mood off the ground was matched on it in a dramatic match that could lead to match review officer scrutiny for Cats Gary Rohan and Joel Selwood.
Rohan appeared to make contact with Brownlow medallist Lachie Neale’s jaw during the first quarter when he swung an arm across his body. The incident occurred behind play and Neale went to ground clutching his cheek before holding up three fingers to Rohan as if to signal that the action was worth a three-match suspension. Neale played out the game.
Joel Selwood gave away a 50-metre penalty when he applied a vigorous tackle on Lions youngster Tom Berry in the middle of the ground, which led to Lions midfielder Mitch Robinson remonstrating with Selwood.
Replays appeared to show Berry’s shoulder rather than his head hitting the turf.
Separately Geelong coach Chris Scott was involved in a verbal altercation with Lions players at quarter-time.
The AFL was awaiting direction from state governments as to what other AFL or AFLW matches might be affected. Sydney played in Brisbane last Saturday and are due to play Adelaide in Sydney on Saturday.
Peter Ryan is a sports reporter with The Age covering AFL, horse racing and other sports.