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Crows, Port win full-contact training clearance

Football

The State Government has granted Adelaide and Port Adelaide special permission to resume full-contact training from Monday, in a huge boost for both AFL clubs.

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It means the Crows and Power will be able to stay in South Australia to prepare for next month’s AFL season restart, instead of relocating to Queensland this weekend.

The teams are still set to move to their planned Gold Coast hubs for matches, with the season set to recommence on June 11.

However, they could now theoretically play a Showdown in Adelaide in round two and only relocate in mid-June if it is still necessary at that stage.

The AFL is yet to announce the first block of fixtures for the competition resumption, giving it flexibility in the schedule.

SA’s decision brings it into line with Western Australia, Victoria, NSW and Queensland, with all AFL states now allowing full-contact training from May 25.

Adelaide chief executive Andrew Fagan welcomed the level playing field.

“(It is) really positive news for the club and particularly our playing group, coaches and football staff,” Fagan said.

“They now have the peace of mind they can stay at home and conduct full contact training, starting from Monday – like other AFL teams across the country.

“It will allow us to maximise our preparation in the lead-up to the restart of the season and obviously in some instances limit the time our people are away from loved ones.”

SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens confirmed the special exemptions allowed Adelaide and Port Adelaide to resume “full squad training sessions, including tackling, contact and match simulation in South Australia”.

However, Crows and Power players will now be subject to strict protocols that limit their daily movements and interaction with the community.

It follows the training breach by Adelaide players and coaches in quarantine this month, which drew a caution from SA Police and penalties from the AFL.

“These exemptions will be subject to a range of conditions including remaining in their respective places of residence and only permitted to travel to and from the particular training venue when required to do so,” a statement from SA Police said.

“They may leave their residence for essential reasons such as seeking medical assistance.

“This will allow the two clubs to train on a comparative basis to other AFL teams preparing interstate.”

Port Adelaide chief executive Keith Thomas said his club was pleased with the SA government’s decision.

“The decision is important for a number of reasons, not least of all that it will allow our players and staff to remain at home with their families in at least the short-term as we prepare for the re-start of the AFL season on an equal footing with all other clubs,” Thomas said.

“We understand this exemption comes with strict protocols and conditions. We totally respect this and have always maintained that the health and safety of our players, staff and the broader community is paramount.

“Port Adelaide understands it has a clear obligation as a high-profile organisation to be a leader in this space and we take this responsibility very seriously.”

-AAP

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