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AFL match chaos over Vic virus spike

Football

The AFL is exploring all options to continue its season after fresh Queensland coronavirus protocols threw fixturing into chaos.

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Six clubs have already been impacted by a round-five fixture reshuffle, with AFL boss Gillon McLachlan warning of more changes to come.

Queensland health officials have issued new directives that will force Brisbane and Gold Coast into 14-day quarantine should they play a Melbourne-based club.

The Lions and Suns would also have to quarantine if they played in Melbourne, and against any team that had been in Melbourne in the preceding 14 days.

The directive has forced the AFL to recast round-five scheduling as Victoria’s coronavirus spike continues to worsen with 75 new cases announced on Monday.

“In football, people love predictability, order, routine,” McLachlan told reporters.

“This is a season where predictability, order and routine has been and will continue to be difficult.

“Flexibility and agility are going to be to the key traits needed to navigate the challenges provided by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“One thing we do know is there will be more challenges and with every challenge football will find a way through.”

Richmond’s scheduled Thursday night game against West Coast on the Gold Coast has been postponed.

Instead, Carlton will play St Kilda at Marvel Stadium on Thursday night in Melbourne – a game initially scheduled for Sunday.

Richmond will now play Melbourne at the MCG on Sunday, with the Eagles now to meet Sydney on the Gold Coast on Saturday.

But Gold Coast’s game against Geelong in Geelong will proceed, though the high-flying Suns may not return to Queensland afterwards.

“They might not go back to Queensland, they might go other routes … we will have advice on that in the coming days,” McLachlan said.

“The AFL would work through the implications for the following rounds before announcing any changes required for rounds six and seven.

“We have options on the table and we are ready if we need them,” McLachlan said.

“But at the moment we have got a fixture that is put out for this weekend and we will continue to look at things day-by-day.”

-AAP

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