The AFL was faced with an 'extraordinary' Covid-19 drama on Friday night during the clash between Geelong and the Brisbane Lions after the Victorian Government announced Brisbane and Morton Bay as Covid-19 hotspots.
Brisbane's players and staff will face an uncertain wait on whether they can return home for the Easter long weekend after their one-point loss to Geelong after the shock announcement.
The game at GMHBA stadium was thrown into chaos just an hour before the bounce after Victoria's health department declared Brisbane and Moreton Bay COVID-19 hot spots and says anyone who has been in those areas since March 12 must self-isolate and be tested for coronavirus.
"Extraordinary drama tonight, as Covid raises its ugly head," the Herald Sun's Jon Ralph said just before the bounce.
“As we speak, fans are being told that they must leave the ground if they have come in from Queensland. The loudspeakers are pushing that message."
The Lions were granted an exemption to travel to Geelong for the clash because they were following AFL protocols.
This was confirmed by the AFL at half-time.
“The AFL confirms the Brisbane Lions players, coaches and officials obtained an exemption from the Victorian Government from orange zone permit requirements as players, coaches and officials have all been living and abiding by approved AFL protocols,” the league tweeted at halftime.
“We encourage everyone in the community to follow advice of the Govt-anyone who has entered Victoria from the City of Brisbane & Moreton Bay Region since Mar 12 must immediately self-isolate, get a coronavirus test within 72hrs & stay isolated until they receive a negative result.”
Lions coach Chris Fagan said the team were in limbo on whether they could travel home after the match.
"We have not received any information from the AFL," Lions coach Fagan said, who conducted his post-game press conference via video due to the health advice.
"We're flying back (on Saturday) but that can change. As we know, life changes pretty quickly these days."
AFL players alerted due to Covid-19 alert
Fagan said the staff were unsure whether the game against Geelong would go ahead and had shielded his players from the pending situation before kick-off.
This was until an alert flashed up on the stadium scoreboard at quarter-time.
"I thought there was a chance it could be called off," Fagan said.
"I'm glad it wasn't because it was one of the better games of Aussie Rules football you will ever see.
"It didn't upset the team because we didn't talk about it. We just take our advice from the AFL and the governments.
"I'm not sure if the players knew about it but it certainly wasn't a topic of conversation between myself and the players."
AFL greats advised to leave ground
Fans and commentators were caught up in the drama.
Hawthorn legend and former Lions player Luke Hodge was forced to leave the ground because he had travelled from Brisbane to the match.
North Melbourne legend Wayne Carey had recently travelled north and was also advised to leave the Channel 7 commentary box.
A small number of travelling Lions fans were asked to leave the stadium.
The Lions' AFLW team are also in Victoria and are due to play Melbourne at Casey Fields on Saturday.
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