Friday AFL blockbuster at risk as club rushed into isolation

·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
The Western Bulldogs have undergone coronavirus tests and are isolating ahead of their Friday night match against Melbourne after a staff member visited a listed exposure site. (Photo by James Elsby/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
The Western Bulldogs have undergone coronavirus tests and are isolating ahead of their Friday night match against Melbourne after a staff member visited a listed exposure site. (Photo by James Elsby/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

The AFL is facing a nervous wait to get confirmation the Friday night clash between the Western Bulldogs and Sydney can go ahead, after the former were rushed into isolation on Tuesday afternoon.

Ticket sales for the Friday night game, as well as several other AFL game this weekend, have been suspended after five new cases of the coronavirus were reported in Melbourne.

Unfortunately for the Western Bulldogs, players and staff were told to isolate on Tuesday after a staff member reported being at one of the potential virus exposure sites listed by the state government.

In a statement on Tuesday afternoon, the Bulldogs said they had submitted the entire club for coronavirus tests and all would isolate until a negative result was returned.

“Western Bulldogs players, football department staff and match-day staff have all received coronavirus tests today and are currently isolating until they receive a negative result, after a staff member reported being at Highpoint Shopping Centre during the exposure period,” the statement read.

“As a precautionary measure, players and staff were asked by the AFL, in consultation with the State Government, to undergo testing and isolate to rule out any risk.

“The Bulldogs co-operated fully with the advice, in the best interests of public health and safety.

“It is expected that players and staff will be able to return to training on Wednesday, pending the negative test results being received overnight.”

The AFL reportedly remains confident all matches should be able to go ahead as scheduled, however there is some anticipation of added restriction on fans, if allowed.

Face masks could be once again mandatory inside stadiums, while crowd caps could also be re-introduced.

AFL ticket sales on hold after latest Covid scare

The AFL has suspended ticket sales in Melbourne ahead of round 11 this weekend as the Victorian state government responds to the latest coronavirus cases detected in the city.

A total of five new cases have been detected, which have been linked to the South Australian quarantine outbreak earlier this month in which a man who completed hotel quarantine in the state returned a positive test once he returned to Melbourne.

New restrictions for Greater Melbourne were announced by the government on Tuesday morning, limiting private gatherings to five people and public gatherings to 30, however acting premier James Merlino stopped short of announcing restrictions on sporting events.

The AFL has put ticket sales for this weekend's matches in Melbourne on hold after several cases of the coronavirus were detected in the Victorian capital. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)
The AFL has put ticket sales for this weekend's matches in Melbourne on hold after several cases of the coronavirus were detected in the Victorian capital. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

He said capacity limits on weddings, funerals and hospitality venues would not change however would provide further information on sporting fixtures and large-crowd events later.

"For footy crowds and for other events there will be a public events advisory panel which will advise of any changes - we're not making any announcements today," Merlino said on Tuesday.

"We are looking at range of events, whether it's footy or other cultural events, we will work through all of those and provide further advice."

Other AFL matches scheduled in Melbourne this weekend include Saturday games featuring Collingwood and Geelong at the MCG and St Kilda and North Melbourne at Marvel.

With AAP

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