Veteran AFL journalist says the WA Police decision to imprison Richmond's Sydney Stack over a quarantine breach was a 'national disgrace' after similar indiscretions were met with softer penalties.
Stack found himself in hot water last December after he was found by WA police to be in breach of quarantine, having been granted an exemption to enter the state from South Australia on compassionate grounds.
'CONCERNING NEWS': AFL fans on high alert after Covid case at MCG
The 21-year-old was discovered by police after being involved in an altercation in Perth, despite being required to remain at home.
He faced Perth Magistrates Court after being charged with failing to comply with a direction.
Stack was remanded in custody for several weeks, including over Christmas, and was ultimately handed a $6000 fine.
The re-imposition of lockdown restrictions in Sydney, and subsequent $4000 fines handed to four men from Sydney who sailed a superyacht into Queensland, in defiance of the orders, before attending a Wallabies game, did not sit well with Robinson, who brought the incident up as a comparison to Stack.
Speaking on AFL 360, Robinson said it was a 'great shame' WA had held Stack on remand when seemingly more privileged rule-breakers escaped similar sanctions.
“The truckies who busted protocols, families who busted protocols, the rich dudes who jumped in their boat and went from Sydney to Queensland and went to the Wallabies game and got a $4000 fine,” Robinson said.
“I’ll say it again, that Sydney Stack was put in prison for 3-4 weeks for breaking quarantine is a national disgrace and a great shame on Western Australia.
“I cannot believe the longer this goes and the lack of penalties for these people who are deliberately doing it, and a young fella was thrown in jail.
“I’m glad he’s back playing football.”
It's the never before seen vision of Richmond's senior staff discussing the fallout from the Sydney Stack and Callum Coleman-Jones COVID breach in Queensland.#MakingTheirMark launches on @pvsportau on March 12. pic.twitter.com/rmTs0nFwMS
— AFL (@AFL) March 5, 2021
While there was a degree of condemnation at the time over Stack's time in remand, his record while in the AFL's hub bubbles on the Gold Coast when the 2020 season resumed did not count in his favour.
Stack and teammate Callum Coleman-Jones were hit with 10 match bans, subsequently missing Richmond's grand final victory, after being involved in a brawl outside a Gold Coast strip club.
Five AFL clubs to leave Vic for Queensland
North Melbourne and Essendon will join a growing list of AFL clubs to head to Queensland as concern grows about the latest COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria
Sydney and GWS jumped on a flight out of Melbourne on Thursday morning after being told of their next impending move late on Wednesday night.
The Western Bulldogs, who are due to play Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium on Saturday, will also depart earlier than planned on Thursday.
But the Victorian exodus is not ending there with the Kangaroos' match against Essendon on Sunday to be moved from Marvel Stadium to Brisbane.
AAP understands a flight, which will have both clubs on board, will leave Melbourne at 2pm Thursday.
The Bombers are scheduled to play GWS in round 19, before a date with the Swans the following week.
Those games will likely be played in Queensland, especially if the Victorian COVID-19 outbreak worsens.
The Sydney teams were meant to play their derby in Ballarat on Saturday but that is now likely to be played at the Gabba in Brisbane.
Both clubs have been based in Victoria since June 22 due to NSW's coronavirus crisis but will now call Queensland home for the immediate future.
"About nine o'clock, 9.15 (Wednesday night) there was a conversation with the AFL that this is a possibility because we're playing the Giants and they're in the same situation," Swans chief executive Tom Harley told SEN.
"About five minutes later (players were told). The competition is pretty well-drilled at this now and when you talk about the prospects of Victoria and the COVID situation there, it just provides some flexibility in getting to Queensland."
The Brisbane Lions arrived in Victoria on Wednesday ahead of Friday night's clash with Richmond at the MCG.
AFL meetings on Thursday will decide what happens with the remainder of round 18 as exposure sites in Victoria continue to be added.
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