AFLW Blues and Magpies head west, giving hope for men’s season
Male players and staff at clubs in WA, Queensland and South Australia have until February 18 to receive a second dose of vaccinations while all players and staff based in Victoria and NSW working at clubs have received two injections.
Only West Coast’s Jack Darling and North Melbourne’s Jed Anderson remain on their club’s roster as they have yet to sign on to the AFL’s vaccination policy. Carlton’s Liam Jones and Brisbane Lions’ Cam Ellis-Yolmen have both retired after refusing to comply with the policy.
AFL competition chief executive Laura Kane says the Blues and Magpies are ready to do what is necessary.
“The health and safety of all members of the community remains paramount and the AFL, along with Fremantle, West Coast Eagles and traveling teams, have agreed to strict protocols endorsed by the Government of Western Australia,” said she declared.
The AFL would not detail what the specific protocols were, but league sources say teams will be restricted to their hotels and undergo an extensive COVID testing regime.
The AFLW Sixth Round Overall game underwent a rescheduling to ensure adequate breaks between games.
“First of all I would like to thank Fremantle and the West Coast Eagles for the role they have played in ensuring the season started and continued,” Kane said.
“Fremantle are currently serving a period of quarantine after returning to Perth after their game on Sunday while West Coast returned to Perth after their game last night after both teams spent time on the road in Victoria.
“As the ongoing pandemic continues to impact and challenge our competition and our wider community, we would like to thank every AFLW club, players and AFLPA, referees, venues, governments, ticket agents and all supporters for their understanding and commitment to the 2022 NAB. AFL women’s competition.
“The match remains a weekly proposition and the AFL will continue to work closely with the respective state governments and health authorities on arrangements that both protect the health and safety of the community and enable us to advance the NAB AFLW season.”
WA Premier Mark McGowan recently hinted there would be a lifting of border bans for sporting competitions, insisting his government had a history of productive negotiations with sporting codes.
“We will continue to work on these measures with sporting codes,” McGowan said last week.
“You may recall Western Australia salvaging the AFL season last year. We saved the AFL. Great grand finale, held with a full crowd in a very safe environment.
“If the sporting codes don’t want to abide by the rules that we have put in place, for example cricket didn’t want, then we didn’t have the ashes test here in January. Well, that’s a decision for them.
The league’s showpiece event was moved to Perth for the first time, edging out Brisbane and Adelaide for the right to host which resulted in a clash between the Western Bulldogs and Melbourne. The latter ended a 57-year drought as prime minister.
WA was due to bring down its hard border on Feb. 5, but McGowan delayed the move indefinitely last month, insisting reopening then would be “reckless and irresponsible” because of the Omicron variant.
Updated AFLW Schedule for Round Six:
(All times AEDT)
Friday February 11
Gold Coast v Geelong, Metricon Stadium, 7:10 p.m.
Saturday February 12
Richmond vs. North Melbourne, Swinburne Center Punt Road Oval, 2:10 p.m.
Melbourne vs. GWS, Casey Fields, 4:10 p.m.
Fremantle v Carlton, Fremantle Oval, 6:10 p.m.
Sunday February 13
St Kilda v Brisbane, Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Oval, 1.10pm
West Coast vs. Collingwood, Mineral Resources Park, 3:10 p.m.
Adelaide vs Western Bulldogs, Norwood Oval, 5:10 p.m.
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