Caroline Wilson has called on the wives and girlfriends of AFL players to have some common sense after reports of complaints and “bad behaviour” about the Queensland quarantine hubs.
AFL teams have relocated to Queensland due to concerning virus outbreaks in Victoria and NSW, and the league is paying for the players’ families to join them in hubs.
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About 400 family members will head to the Gold Coast this week to be with the players, but the AFL was forced to hold a call with club CEOs on Monday to remind them they aren’t going for a holiday.
AFL boss Gillon McLachlan was reportedly concerned about a number of social media posts from players’ family members in recent days.
The family member of a staffer at one club was reportedly spotted at a theme park on the Gold Coast.
“There is a growing concern emerging at the northern hubs. Dare we say it, even the suggestion of some bad behaviour,” Wilson said on Footy Classified on Monday night.
“Some of the partners and families of AFL players are emerging from quarantine and trying to live their AFL-sponsored Queensland lives in a manner which could place the entire season at risk.
“May we suggest or remind you of the enormous leap of faith the Queensland government has shown, letting so many Victorians into the state as a humanitarian move to help the AFL.
“Just because you can’t meet a friend in a cafe or go to Wet’ n’Wild or go for a wander along the beach or stay on the beach all day.
“You can still swim in the surf, you can still sit around the pool. Meet a group of friends or family at a jumping castle, even wander along a coastal path. You’re doing a lot more now than we can do in Victoria.
“It is a privilege you are there, not a right. Some partners are even upset because the AFL have told them they can’t go to the footy, not understanding the hugely logistical issues this could cause for the AFL.
“It might be tough for you up there, but it’s a lot tougher down here (in Victoria).”
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Seven News reporter Tom Browne detailed McLachlan’s concerns on Monday night.
“The AFL can’t afford any COVID protocol trip-ups and issued a warning in a phone call to senior club officials this afternoon, the essence of the message: This is not a holiday,” Browne said.
“The AFL is effectively here under a government licence to play football, the rules that apply to the players apply to the wives, girlfriends and families.
“The AFL has warned to be cautious about the use of social media, even after 14 days quarantine the families can’t sit and sunbake on the beach, they can only exercise on the beach.
“They can pick up a coffee but they can’t do lunch or dinner in a restaurant and there’s certainly no adventure parks.
“There have been at least two social media posts that have raised eyebrows in recent days at the AFL.
“Clearly all families at the moment are trying to do their best but the AFL has drawn a bit of a line in the sand to make sure before they come they’re all on the same page.”
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The wife of Western Bulldogs player Easton Wood recently hit back after being criticised on social media.
Tiffany Wood pointed out that families were effectively subject to stage three lockdown rules, unable to go out for any reason other than the essentials to maintain the integrity of the AFL bubble.
“We’ve been relocated because of work. This is a work environment,” Wood said.
“Staff are missing their families and working around the clock.
“We are all doing all of this so the boys, clubs staff and AFL can put on a show for you and commercialise it so that the sport and clubs don’t go under in these challenging times.
“This is really important to remember. Hundreds of people working to put on games every week to ensure the future security of the sport and all of its employees (and fans!).”
The AFL is reportedly putting up the players’ families at a cost of around $3 million.