AFL finalises exemptions to enter WA
By Oliver Caffrey For Australian Associated Press
Published: 22:07 GMT, 9 February 2022 | Updated: 22:07 GMT, 9 February 2022
Victorian teams have been given the all-clear to travel to Perth for AFLW games despite Western Australia’s hard border stance.
Carlton and Collingwood will fly in and out of Perth this weekend for round-six matches – the first time national sport will be played in WA since December.
The Blues will face the Dockers at Fremantle Oval on Saturday, while the Magpies will tackle West Coast at Mineral Resources Park on Sunday.
Fremantle and West Coast were forced to hit the road when the WA government shut its border to the rest of Australia when COVID-19 cases started rapidly rising in other states and territories.
Isolation protocols were relaxed this week, but arrivals into WA still need to spend seven days in quarantine.
However, the AFL has secured exemptions for teams to fly in and out for matches on the same day.
‘Fremantle is currently serving a quarantine period after returning to Perth following their game on Sunday while West Coast returned to Perth following their game (on Tuesday night) after both teams spent time on the road in Victoria,’ AFL competition management boss Laura Kane said.
‘The health and safety of everyone in the community remains paramount and the AFL, together with Fremantle, the West Coast Eagles and the travelling teams, have agreed to strict protocols as approved by the Western Australian government.’
The move could open the door for the men’s season to go ahead as planned, without West Coast and Fremantle having to enter interstate hubs.
The Eagles and Dockers are scheduled to play each other in both their pre-season matches because of the border predicament.
West Coast are due to host Gold Coast at Optus Stadium in round one on March 20.
The Western Force also received some good news on Wednesday when it was confirmed they could host the Queensland Reds in Perth on March 4.
‘This is a massive moment for our loyal members who have waited patiently for this news,’ Force chief executive Tony Lewis said.
Other Perth teams in national sporting competitions have been forced interstate and been unable to play at home.
Perth Glory hosted their opening A-League men’s fixture at HBF Park in November before hitting the road.
NBL powerhouse Perth Wildcats have not played at their RAC Arena base since December 17.
The Perth Scorchers won the Big Bash League title in Melbourne last month after being away from WA for almost the entire tournament.
WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said the AFLW teams would have to comply with the same rules as previous seasons when clubs flew into Perth.
‘I’ve got to say the AFL has acted very professionally over the last two seasons and we’ve had no difficulties in the way those matches have been conducted,’ Dawson told reporters on Wednesday.
‘My hope, I think is the same as most people, that we try and get as normal as we can.’
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