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No timeline for six exiled clubs as Victoria saves the AFL

“If [Tasmania is] the case, it’ll probably be Saturday afternoon,” Auld said.

The Lions are on the move earlier than planned.

The Lions are on the move earlier than planned.Credit:Getty Images

“If it’s not in Tasmania, that game will most likely be at GMHBA, probably on Saturday night.″⁣

Auld said the league was hopeful of finalising the match’s location and time on Wednesday.

He added that the league is yet to receive confirmation on crowd sizes for matches in Victoria in round 16.

The Lions had been due to leave Queensland on Wednesday but their departure was brought forward to Tuesday afternoon.

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The Lions are fixtured to face the Crows at Adelaide Oval on Saturday. The South Australian government closed the border to Queensland last Sunday, but the Lions’ early move to Victoria will allow them to fly in and out of SA on game day.

The Suns will be staying in Melbourne in order to play the Giants the following week. It would be a GWS home game, but sources indicated it was likely to be played in Ballarat.

The Swans are hopeful of 11 players initially left behind in Sydney being allowed into Victoria but are yet to gain approval. Those mainly fringe players have temporarily shifted to Newcastle.

“Sydney Swans would like some additional players to join their squad. At the moment that hasn’t been possible. We’ll continue to have those conversations with the government, we just need to be mindful of the bigger picture,” Auld said.

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The AFL had on Monday night been cautiously optimistic it would not need to change any further round 16 fixtures. But by Tuesday morning, with Queensland going into lockdown and WA already restricted as of Monday night, it was apparent the fixture would need to change.

The AFL confirmed the four clubs’ move to Victoria in a statement on Tuesday afternoon.

Industry sources said the AFL and clubs would look for the best financial return they could get, not simply the logistics, while satisfying the government.

“We will continue to remain adaptable as the season progresses in a constantly changing environment,” Auld said.

“While COVID-19 continues to impact the community, we will work closely with state governments, health officials, our clubs and players to ensure the best possible outcome for everyone in the game.

“The four teams travelling today will fly to Victoria via charter flights and will be COVID-tested on arrival and isolate until they each receive a negative result.”

The national under-17 championships scheduled for Queensland next week have been postponed.

NRL team Melbourne Storm announced on Tuesday that they would be returning to Victoria as well. The team has been based on the Sunshine Coast for the past seven weeks.

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