'Fantastic': AFL given green light for crowd comeback

The Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide Power will be able to host up to 2000 spectators after the South Australian government eased some of their COVID-19 restrictions. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

AFL coaches Nathan Buckley and Rhyce Shaw have no issue with interstate rivals being allowed to have spectators attend their home matches before Victorian-based clubs.

On Tuesday afternoon, the government of South Australia confirmed that up to 2000 fans can attend the Showdown between Port Adelaide and Adelaide on Saturday, with an additional 240 people in private rooms at the Adelaide Oval.

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It will be the first AFL match to have a crowd this year, with round one played behind closed doors in March, and the league poised to restart on Thursday.

Queensland and NSW clubs are preparing themselves for the likelihood of welcoming varying numbers of fans and corporate supporters at some stage this month.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Tuesday said there would be no crowds at AFL matches in his state “for the foreseeable future” as it attempts to control the COVID-19 spread.

“I’m not going to be throwing the toys out of the cot about crowds in other states and potentially not in ours,” Collingwood coach Buckley said.

“We’re given the privilege of continuing our work and our profession off the back of a social licence.

“There’s a price to pay for us in our personal lives... but we understand that we’ve worked with governments to find these opportunities.

“Different state governments will have different ideas on how they’re going to open their societies up, which includes crowds for us.”

AFL coaches optimistic about crowds returning

North Melbourne coach Shaw echoed Buckley’s sentiments.

“I think any opportunity we can get to get crowds at a game, we must take that opportunity,” Shaw said.

“Whether that’s at GWS for instance this week - I think they’ve talked about 350 people possibly going to the game - fantastic.”

That won’t happen in Victoria any time soon, with Andrews declaring his government would take a cautious approach as it continues to follow advice from medical experts.

“As soon as we can have crowds back at the footy, as soon as we can have crowds back for a multitude of purposes, we will,” the premier said.

“But we’ve got to be cautious about this.

“People will be focused on the fact footy’s back, that’s absolutely fantastic news, we’re not going to be able to go to games for a period of time.

“Let’s be guided by the experts.”