Brisbane's snap lockdown sparks chaos for major sporting codes

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·4-min read
The Brisbane Broncos and Brisbane Lions, pictured here in action in the NRL and AFL.
The Broncos and Lions will be affected by Brisbane's snap lockdown. Image: Getty

Brisbane's snap lockdown has sparked chaos for Australia's sporting codes, with the AFL, NRL, A-League, W-League, Super Rugby and NBL all likely to be affected.

Australia's major sporting codes are once again dealing with a significant COVID-19 disruption after Brisbane was plunged into a minimum three-day lockdown.

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The Queensland state government announced on Monday a "significant" further community transmission of coronavirus since last week's outbreak.

Greater Brisbane - including the Logan, Moreton Bay, Ipswich and Redlands areas - will go into lockdown at 5pm AEST on Monday.

The AFL has moved Thursday night's standalone Brisbane-Collingwood blockbuster from the Gabba to Marvel Stadium as a result.

In a straight swap, the previously-scheduled round 22 meeting between the Lions at Magpies at Marvel Stadium will now be played at the Gabba.

"In the interest of the health and safety of both clubs and the wider community we have made the decision to move the match to Marvel Stadium," AFL fixtures boss Travis Auld said.

"Marvel Stadium was the scheduled venue for the return match between these two clubs later in the season, which made the decision to switch the venues as per the fixture the appropriate choice.

"As we continue to navigate the ongoing pandemic, we are constantly ensuring we have the contingencies in place to best combat any challenges that are presented.

"On behalf of the AFL I would like to thank both clubs for their patience and understanding of the evolving situation."

The Lions have been stuck in limbo in Victoria since last Friday night's loss to Geelong, awaiting further updates on Brisbane's developing virus situation.

NRL and Super Rugby games also affected

Meanwhile, Brisbane's NRL squad and coaching staff will be rushed out of Queensland and into NSW.

As of Sunday, the Broncos were scheduled to return to Brisbane straight after the game, however they will now be temporarily relocated to Sydney.

The Broncos were told late on Monday morning they would need to board a chartered flight just hours later, and will be based in Sydney for at least the next 10 days.

That will allow them to enter Victoria to face Melbourne in their Good Friday showdown, before being away to South Sydney on April 8.

A decision will then be made on their next home game against Penrith on April 15 once the COVID-19 situation in Brisbane is made clearer.

"The players and staff have taken the changes in their stride," interim Broncos CEO Neil Monaghan said.

Joseph Champness, pictured here in action for Brisbane Roar in the A-League.
Joseph Champness in action for Brisbane Roar in the A-League. (Photo by Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

"While it's tough on many of our team with young families, they are keen to get on the road and prepare for a great challenge against the Storm.

"We will then stay in Sydney to get ready for the Rabbitohs game, which will ensure the continuity of the competition."

Brisbane players and staff were all tested over the weekend with results all negative, and have been in home isolation since.

The NRL is also trying to navigate Saturday's clash between Cronulla and North Queensland on the Sunshine Coast.

That region is not one to be placed in lockdown, with the most likely scenario being that chartered flights are used to avoid having to transit through Brisbane.

Gold Coast is scheduled to host Canberra on Saturday, with the holiday strip not included in the greater Brisbane lockdown.

Cricket, NBL, A-League among other codes affected

Queensland's cricketers will be relocated to Sydney on Monday afternoon ahead of one-day and Sheffield Shield fixtures.

The Bulls have a one-day match against NSW at North Sydney Oval on Wednesday ahead of a Shield game against the Blues in Wollongong from Saturday.

The Queensland Reds have remained in Sydney since their Super Rugby win over the NSW Waratahs on the weekend and will fly direct to Melbourne this week for Saturday's meeting with the Rebels.

The Australian Waterpolo League - one of the sport's marquee events - was set to feature 10 teams from across the country in Brisbane from Wednesday but has also been cancelled.

The lockdown could also cost Brisbane's top-four W-League outfit a home final, with semi-finals set for Sunday and Monday and the final regular-season standings to be finalised after Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory meet on Wednesday.

Brisbane Roar's A-League clash with Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday could be affected, while the NBL's Brisbane Bullets are due to host South East Melbourne Phoenix on Friday.

with AAP

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