All Victorian AFL clubs set for nine-week stint in Queensland to see out 2020 season, Perth hubs to continue
All Victorian AFL clubs have reportedly been told they will be based in Queensland for the remainder of the 2020 season due to the second wave of coronavirus in their home state.
However while the move to the Gold Coast doesn’t spell the end of football in Perth, the Queensland Premier has moved to use the extended hub as an ultimatum for grand final rights.
Annastacia Palaszczuk said hosting the home and away season is ‘another way Queensland is helping Victoria’ and therefore sees Queensland ‘deserve’ to host the marquee match.
“As I told Gil, if the season is based here - then the Grand Final should be played here too,” she said.
“It’s more fire in the belly for the Suns and the Lions.
“Given the choice between not having a season and having it based in Queensland I think I know what the fans would like to happen.”
Veteran broadcaster Gerard Whateley said on radio this morning the clubs and players were informed of the latest update today.
"I'm being told from a well-placed source that all Victorian clubs were told this morning that they will be based in Queensland for the remainder of the home and away season,” Whateley said on SEN.
“This is the biggest development in the race to keep the season alive.
“There’ll be 11 rounds in 9 weeks and Victorian teams will not return home. They’ll be based in Queensland.
“Staff have been informed that they can’t bring families. Players are waiting to hear what the family environments will be.”
But in a boost for Fremantle and West Coast, the extended Gold Coast hub isn’t set to spell the end of their overdue stint at home.
"The hub in Perth will continue as scheduled,” Whateley continued.
“There's a very real chance that Brisbane and Gold Coast don't leave Queensland for the rest of the year.
“There's a very real chance the WA teams don't leave Perth for the rest of the year."
The latest development comes as the crisis in Victoria and NSW deepens.
“A short time ago I spoke to AFL CEO Gil McLachlan,” Palaszczuk confirmed earlier.
“He is looking to book accommodation for hundreds of players and officials at Queensland hotels for two months.
“You can imagine what that means to those businesses.
“I stress none of these measures can happen without strict quarantine protocols and the COVID management plan that has allowed the AFL season to proceed.”
The grand final push comes despite Optus Stadium boss Mike McKenna stating yesterday the Perth venue has the ability to host an entire finals series should it be called on to do.
“They’ve missed the benefit of having a finals series perhaps at a location that is purpose built for this type of activity,” McKenna told SEN.
“We’ve had some of the biggest sporting occasions in our very short history, two years.
“We’ve had Manchester United playing here, we’ve had the Bledisloe Cup, we’ve had great AFL finals football being played here, cricket matches, Test matches, ODI’s. We’ve had all sorts of sports and on top of that concerts.
“It really is the big event stadium in the country along with some of the other greats.
“ANZ Stadium is a great stadium, hasn’t played AFL football for quite a long time, but it is a great stadium to watch rugby union, rugby league ... I don’t know that it’s such a great AFL stadium.
“I think what you get here if you have a grand final or a finals series in Perth is passionate fans attending and they will attend games that involve neutral teams. I am not sure that is always the case in other states.”
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