Fans banned from AFL game in Perth after Covid-19 bombshell

·Sports Editor
·3-min read
West Coast and the Western Bulldogs, pictured here playing in an empty Optus Stadium.
West Coast and the Western Bulldogs will play in an empty Optus Stadium. (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Fans have been barred from attending West Coast's home game against the Western Bulldogs at Optus Stadium on Sunday because of a positive Covid-19 case in Perth.

Western Australia reported one new Covid case on Sunday and subsequently ramped up travel restrictions and density limits.

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WA Health Minister Roger Cook said the Perth woman who tested positive was earlier this month in the Bondi area of Sydney.

It is assumed the woman - who initially tested negative to Covid-19 when she returned to WA - has the Delta virus variant.

Public events will be restricted to 150 people, while Sunday's AFL match between West Coast and the Bulldogs will go ahead without crowds.

A small crowd of fans had already been milling around Optus Stadium and were told to leave.

The AFL said in a statement: “Only essential staff and players will be permitted to attend the game.

“All essential staff and officials at the match will abide by Western Australian Government guidelines at all times.”

AFL Football Operations boss Steve Hocking said: “The health and safety of everyone in the game and the wider community remains the priority as we continue to navigate the pandemic.

“The AFL thanks all supporters for their understanding as we continue to be led by the advice of governments and health officials.”

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The official Twitter account for Optus Stadium tweeted: “We know many of you will be disappointed by this news, but the health of our community is our priority.

“We’ll see you back at the stadium as soon as Government advice allows.”

It will mark the fourth time this season that the Eagles have played at an empty Optus Stadium.

The club will reportedly lose about $1 million in gate takings as a result.

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North Melbourne in isolation after airport drama

Meanwhile, North Melbourne players have been forced to isolate after being at Melbourne airport at the same time as a confirmed Covid-19 case.

The Kangaroos travelled via charter flight to Hobart for Saturday's win over Gold Coast.

The airport terminal they used in Melbourne has been listed as a tier-two exposure site by the Victorian government because a flight attendant, who has since tested positive to the coronavirus, was in the same building.

As such, North's squad have been ordered to get Covid-19 tests and remain in isolation until they receive a negative result.

North Melbourne players, pictured here after their win over Gold Coast.
North Melbourne players leave the field after their win over Gold Coast. (Photo by Steve Bell/Getty Images)

"Everything evolved very quickly," North captain Jack Ziebell told the Nine Network.

"With the AFL travel protocols, it is important to note that it is pretty strict when we travel interstate.

"We flew in and out on the same day.

"We are required to wear masks at all times throughout the airport as well as on the flight. So fingers crossed."

Saturday's VFL clash between Hawthorn's affiliate Box Hill and Brisbane club Aspley also looms as a concern for the AFL.

The AFL website is reporting that Aspley's players travelled on flight VA334 to Melbourne on Friday, alongside the infected flight attendant.

with AAP

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