AFL needs hubs to resume comp: WA premier

Oliver Caffrey
WA Premier Mark McGowan will not ease border restrictions to ease the AFL's resumption

The AFL has been urged to push ahead with quarantine hubs to restart its season as Western Australia plans to stick with hardline border restrictions.

Amid growing confidence the 2020 campaign could resume - without hubs - next month, WA Premier Mark McGowan has thrown a spanner in the works.

"We are not going to compromise on our hard borders just to meet the needs of football," McGowan told reporters on Wednesday.

"The hub arrangement, in which teams were going to move to Western Australia and play football, was a great arrangement.

"I'd urge the AFL to continue to pursue that arrangement because it would have meant that the integrity of our borders (remains).

"Lots of people move away for work and live in difficult conditions.

"Football players in the current difficult economic times should be no exemption to that."

West Coast and Fremantle are opposed to hubs and, like the other 16 clubs, they want to see a more traditional home-and-away model where teams fly in and out for matches.

But if WA's border restrictions don't ease, the Eagles and the Dockers could be forced into a Victorian-based hub instead.

"Our football teams have been disadvantaged by football hierarchy for a long period of time and if that is what happens then that would be a further disadvantage for Western Australian teams," McGowan said.

Federal sports minister Richard Colbeck is confident the AFL season can resume without hubs if COVID-19 cases continue to decline.

The AFL's "doomsday" hubs scenario has not been received well by players, who have baulked at the prospect of up to 20 weeks locked away from loved ones.

But Colbeck believes the AFL has "almost moved past that model now".

Tasmanian premier Peter Gutwein said he would be hesitant for AFL games to be played in the state under a fly in, fly out model.

Eight AFL games were originally scheduled for the Apple Isle in 2020.

"I'm not in a rush to have AFL played here in front of empty stadiums," Gutwein told reporters on Wednesday.

"I will not increase the risk on Tasmanians by allowing a model like this to occur if the advice is that the risk will increase."