'Do not touch': Chief medical officer's odd advice for AFL fans

·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
South Australian chief health officer Professor Nicole Spurrier advised fans not to touch the ball at this weekend's AFL match at Adelaide Oval.
South Australian chief health officer Professor Nicole Spurrier has warned fans not to touch the ball if it is kicked into the stands during Adelaide's match against Collingwood this weekend. Pictures: 7News/Getty Images

AFL fans have been left slightly bemused by advice issued by South Australia's chief medical officer after Collingwood were allowed to enter the state to face Adelaide Crows this weekend.

It was unclear whether the Magpies would be allowed into South Australia after Melbourne's lockdown was extended on Wednesday.

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However the South Australian state government has permitted Collingwood to travel for the game, which will be played with fans in attendance.

Fans attending the match though, were given a somewhat odd piece of advice by South Australian chief medical officer Nicole Spurrier, who advised fans to avoid touching the ball at all costs.

"Sometimes the ball, not that I've been to many football games, but I've noticed occasionally that it does get kicked into the crowd," she said.

"We are working through the details of what that will mean, but if you are at Adelaide Oval and the ball comes towards you, my advice to you is to just duck and do not touch that ball."

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Professor Spurrier made the comment while explaining why the Magpies had been granted an exemption to enter the state, which closed its border to Victoria after lockdowns were announced.

“They will not be making contact with anyone in SA except the players in the Crows team, that is the only group in SA that will be exposed,” Spurrier said.

While the fixture for round 12 has been fixed, uncertainty remains over future rounds, which largely depend on the outcome of the extended lockdown in Melbourne.

League CEO Gillon McLachlan and fixtures boss Travis Auld have sought to reassure players and clubs that a return to hubs would be a last resort.

“The reality of the current situation in the community means the fixture will become a week-by-week proposition for the short-term, as we navigate through an uncertain period,” Auld said.

“While teams may find themselves on the road for a week or two, we are not envisaging a longer-term hub arrangement for any clubs.

“We will continue to keep a close eye on the current situation in the community before making, if required, any further changes to upcoming rounds.”

AFL hoping for fixture certainty amid Melbourne lockdown

The SA government's decision to allow the Magpies to fly in and out on Saturday was the final piece of the fixture puzzle for round 12, with three matches moved interstate from Victoria.

St Kilda-Sydney and Carlton-West Coast games have been moved from Melbourne to the SCG, while the Essendon-Richmond Dreamtime clash will be played at Perth's Optus Stadium.

Friday night's Melbourne-Brisbane blockbuster has been moved from Alice Springs to Sydney's Giants Stadium.

Clubs are still in limbo over their movements next week, with the fixture for round 13 and beyond yet to be confirmed.

Multiple players have voiced their concerns through the media over the possibility of longer hub stints, as were required to complete the 2020 season.

The AFL is hoping they will be able to avoid sending teams into hubs, like was required in the 2020 season. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)
The AFL is hoping they will be able to avoid sending teams into hubs, like was required in the 2020 season. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

Richmond star Jack Riewoldt said this week it would be hard to leave his two young children at home with their mother for an extended period.

Other players have reportedly indicated to their clubs that they would rather stay home and forgo playing matches than spend weeks away.

Meanwhile, Tigers captain Trent Cotchin is no certainty to line up against Essendon on Saturday night.

Cotchin is in Sydney with his teammates, who are due to fly to Perth on Friday, but is monitoring a personal issue at home in Melbourne.

"Trent has our full support and as always family comes first," Richmond football manager Tim Livingstone said.

With AAP

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