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Lions wait for SA exemption as AFL works around lockdowns

Football

The AFL is scrambling to finalise its round 16 fixture just a day out from the opening match of the weekend as the Brisbane Lions await an exemption from SA Health to fly into South Australia for their game against the Crows on Saturday.

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Every club except Adelaide and Port Adelaide are now in Victoria after Brisbane, Gold Coast, West Coast and Fremantle arrived in Melbourne on Tuesday night due to snap lockdowns in south-east Queensland and Perth.

The AFL is awaiting an exemption from SA Health for the Lions to travel into South Australia for Saturday’s clash with the Crows at the Adelaide Oval scheduled for 4:05pm (ACST).

If the exemption is granted, Brisbane would likely face similar conditions to those experienced by Geelong and Collingwood in entering SA last month.

The two Victorian clubs had to undergo pre-flight COVID tests before boarding a chartered plane to Adelaide, and were required to isolate from the rest of the South Australian community.

The Lions hope to travel back to Queensland on Sunday but are prepared to be away for longer.

Chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier on Tuesday said she had not been updated about any progress on an exemption but expected the same protocols to be in place as previously.

“We do have very good processes, we’ve used it before in the last couple of weeks with other teams and I presume we’ll be happy to do the same,” she said.

It is unclear whether the increased restrictions across SA will impact Adelaide Oval’s capacity for Saturday’s match.

Spurrier said SA Health was “still in conversations” with the Stadium Management Authority determine if any new protocols will need to be implemented.

“There are other controls that can be used at Adelaide Oval, so we are working closely with Adelaide Oval,” she said.

Meanwhile, the AFL has already moved the Gold Coast Suns’ Thursday night home clash with Richmond from Metricon Stadium to Marvel Stadium.

But the league is still weighing up the venue and time for Fremantle’s home clash with Carlton, originally slated for Perth’s Optus Stadium on Saturday night.

That game will either be played in Tasmania on Saturday afternoon or it will go ahead on Saturday night at GMHBA Stadium in Geelong.

Elsewhere, the Swans’ home game against West Coast at the SCG has been shifted to GMHBA Stadium on Sunday, while the Giants will play at the MCG for the second-straight week when they face Melbourne on Saturday.

-with AAP

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