WA Premier Mark McGowan has denied Perth has clinched the grand final but says his government is working on “very strict guidelines” as discussions with the AFL continue.
McGowan said it would be a “wise” call for the AFL to have all players vaccinated ahead of any matches being held in Perth.
AFL clubs have been told the pre-finals bye has been scrapped, with the week off to be a floating option through the finals. It could be used before the preliminary final or even the grand final, depending on border and quarantine issues for clubs.
“If circumstances require in the lead-up to the 2021 AFL grand final, then we have the ability to pause for a week, ensuring we deliver on our commitment to provide the two competing clubs, their members and fans, the biggest and best sporting event of the year,” AFL general manager clubs and broadcasting Travis Auld said.
At this point, the grand final will still go ahead on Saturday, September 25 and not be brought forward a week.”
When asked specifically about reports his state had clinched the grand final, McGowan said: “That hasn’t been achieved at this point in time but, obviously, we’re working with the AFL on very strict guidelines around all these issues, and I don’t think the AFL has made that decision yet.”
McGowan said interstate players would not be able to bring their partners and families with them to WA.
“As we said, our intention is that those sorts of groups wouldn’t be permitted to join players coming in, it would be a very strict and tight regime,” he said.
AFL chairman Richard Goyder and chief executive Gillon McLachlan remain in discussions with Queensland, South Australia and WA governments, plus health officials, about hosting the grand final should it have to be shifted from the MCG.
The AFL and WA government will also have to confirm quarantine plans and hubs.
“They would be decisions that we’ll have to work on with the chief health officer, but I’d expect most footballers, in fact, all, are probably vaccinated, I certainly would have thought that would have been a wise decision by the AFL,” McGowan said.
“But I understand our police and our health officials are working with the AFL at this point in time about what the protocols will be.”
The AFL has been contacted for comment regarding player vaccinations.
Round 23 updates (all times AEST):
- Western Bulldogs v Port Adelaide, Marvel Stadium at 7:50pm on Friday, August 20. The AFL, Western Bulldogs and Port Adelaide have agreed to strict travel arrangements and other protocols as approved by the South Australian Government. Port Adelaide will fly-in and fly-out for the match via charter flight.
- Sydney Swans v Gold Coast Suns, Marvel Stadium at 1:45pm on Saturday, August 21.
- Richmond v Hawthorn, MCG at 1:35pm on Saturday, August 21.
- Brisbane Lions v West Coast Eagles, Gabba at 4:35pm on Saturday, August 21.
- Geelong Cats v Melbourne, GMHBA Stadium at 7:25pm on Saturday, August 21.
- Carlton v GWS, Marvel Stadium at 7:40pm on Saturday, August 21.
- St Kilda v Fremantle will take place at 12:15pm on Sunday, August 22 with the venue to be confirmed.
- Essendon v Collingwood, MCG at 3:20pm on Sunday, August 22.
- Adelaide Crows v North Melbourne, Adelaide Oval at 4:40pm (4:10pm local) on Sunday, August 22. The AFL, Crows and North Melbourne have agreed to strict travel arrangements and other protocols as approved by the South Australian Government. North Melbourne will fly-in and fly-out for the match on Sunday via charter flight.