Port Adelaide and Adelaide will fly to Melbourne on Tuesday to play Collingwood and Hawthorn despite having their initial attempt to flee to Victoria scuppered in a dramatic day of AFL fixture and border-hopping drama.
The Power will play Collingwood at 7.10 on Friday night, while the Crows will meet Hawthorn at 7.40 on Saturday night. Both games are at Marvel Stadium – and home games for the visiting teams. Adelaide-Hawthorn will be the second game of a double-header, with Carlton playing North Melbourne at the ground at 1.45pm.
The Crows and Port Adelaide were not allowed to play a game in South Australia due to the SA government’s hard lockdown, and barred from training, too – a situation that finally led to the AFL deciding to send them to Melbourne for those games, confirming the original plan from lunchtime Tuesday, which was halted for a time as the league grappled with COVID chaos.
At one stage, the AFL strongly considered an Adelaide showdown and the scheduling of a Hawthorn v Collingwood game – both brought forward from round 21. They also considered other options, including sending teams to Queensland.
The AFL is adamant they will press on and keep playing games – without a pause, despite the raft of issues due to the multi-state outbreaks in NSW, Victoria and SA and the lack of crowds – because they believe the situation could always worsen with the Delta virus.
Essendon’s game against Greater Western Sydney was to remain in Queensland, with the venue expected to be Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast.
Meanwhile, Saints ruckman Rowan Marshall is the latest player to be ruled out of this weekend’s games because he attended a tier-one exposure site. The Saints play West Coast on Saturday, with Marshall one of their most important players. The ruckman had a drink at the Precinct Hotel after watching the Wallabies at AAMI Park, with that pub now an exposure site.
And good news for NSW teams emerged, with GWS and Sydney’s players and staff set to be reunited with their families in Queensland.
The AFL has received Queensland government approval to send a group of player and staff families to the sunshine state for 14 days’ quarantine. They will be allowed to move around the hotel, but not leave it until the quarantine period is over.