AFL and NRL scrambling after snap lockdown called in Brisbane

·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
The remainder of round 20 in the NRL and the AFL is in doubt, with multiple games called off or rescheduled after Brisbane went into a snap three-day lockdown. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)
The remainder of round 20 in the NRL and the AFL is in doubt, with multiple games called off or rescheduled after Brisbane went into a snap three-day lockdown. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

AFL and NRL fixtures this weekend have been thrown into chaos after the Queensland state government announced on Saturday morning that parts of Brisbane would immediately enter hard lockdown.

Saturday's Gold Coast-Melbourne and Essendon-Sydney fixtures have been affected, as has Sunday's GWS-Port Adelaide contest.

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In the NRL, St George Illawarra's clash with South Sydney has been postponed as the league clings to hope they can keep round 20 alive.

Both the AFL and NRL have started talks with the Queensland government after the snap three-day lockdown was called.

Queensland's lockdown begins at 4pm on Saturday, with the government ruling out all professional sport.

"There will be no football matches," Queensland chief health officer Jeanette Young said.

"No community sport, no professional sport, nothing for the next three days."

Rugby league bosses entered into immediate talks with the Queensland Government on Saturday morning after a three-day lockdown that banned sport in the south-east of the state.

Players were also ordered back to their hotels and put into level-four restrictions, just days after they were eased for the first time in a month.

Saturday's 3pm game between the Dragons and Rabbitohs has now been postponed until at least Sunday, as league officials weigh up where it can be played.

That move came after the Rabbitohs had already flown to Rockhampton, while the Dragons were stuck inside their Brisbane hotel room.

The NRL is still clinging to hope the other games can be played.

Options include moving matches to Townsville and other regional areas, provided the teams have not been based in the Brisbane hub.

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AFL fixtures boss Travis Auld said the league is working through its options with how to fit those games into the future schedule.

"The evolving COVID situation in Queensland has seen the state announce a three-day lockdown and, as a result, we have had to postpone three games scheduled to be played in Queensland in round 20," Auld said.

"These games will be rescheduled to be played at a time to be confirmed.

"While the pandemic will continue to challenge us, the health and safety of those in our game and the wider community remains paramount."

GWS, Sydney and Essendon are all currently operating out of temporary bases in Queensland and are now assessing their immediate options, with the Bombers keen to return to Victoria if possible.

The Melbourne Demons flew to Brisbane on Saturday morning, only to earn their game against the Gold Coast would need to be re-scheduled when they landed. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
The Melbourne Demons flew to Brisbane on Saturday morning, only to earn their game against the Gold Coast would need to be re-scheduled when they landed. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Port Adelaide were due to fly to the Gold Coast from Melbourne for their clash with the Giants on Sunday, but are now in a holding pattern awaiting further information.

Power coach Ken Hinkley's scheduled pre-match press conference on Saturday morning was postponed at the last minute, with the club set to provide an update on their plans later in the day.

Brisbane also postponed coach Chris Fagan's Saturday afternoon press conference in Launceston, where the Lions are scheduled to take on Hawthorn on Sunday.

That match has been given approval to go ahead as planned because the Lions flew out of Queensland earlier on Saturday.

Brisbane are due to take on Fremantle in Perth in round 21 and could stay on the road until then.

With AAP

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