Lions-Pies AFL match moved to Melbourne

·3-min read

Apart from an emergency socks and jocks delivery, the AFL's newest nomads Brisbane are taking their Melbourne relocation in their stride ahead of Thursday's relocated blockbuster against Collingwood.

The league made the call on Monday to move the game from the Gabba after the Queensland government announced a three-day lockdown for the greater Brisbane area, starting at 5pm AEST on Monday.

In a straight swap, the previously scheduled round 22 meeting between the Lions at Magpies at Marvel Stadium will now be played at the Gabba.

The Lions have been in limbo since last Friday night's defeat to Geelong, ordered to stay in Victoria because of the COVID-19 outbreak in Brisbane.

They trained at Port Melbourne on Monday morning and will now stay in Melbourne for at least another four nights, although that could stretch until their April 10 meeting with the Western Bulldogs at Mars Stadium in Ballarat.

Darcy Gardiner, Rhys Mathieson, Marcus Adams and Connor Ballenden, who could replace ruckman Oscar McInerney (ankle), have to fly down from Brisbane for the Collingwood clash while players have put in orders for emergency training gear and essentials.

"A few companies have dropped off socks and jocks to the hotel ... hopefully the boys packed enough day-to-day clothes," Lions captain Dayne Zorko said.

Their opponents were based in Queensland for a bulk of last season but the captain was quick to point out the Lions still successfully negotiated a similar stint in Sydney on their way to the preliminary final.

"It's not foreign to us; we did it last year and got results and it could be a team bonding experiment, but I'd like to think we're already pretty close.

"It (confirmation of the fixture swap) was sort of a relief, because now we have some sort of idea what's going on."

Even though Gold Coast are not based in a hotspot, the Suns will fly to Adelaide on Tuesday ahead of Friday night's clash with the Crows.

The club will leave two days earlier than planned in the event coronavirus cases emerge on the Gold Coast.

Brisbane's bus to the airport came to a shuddering halt as they were informed of the news while Collingwood's coaching staff learnt of the switch at the end of Monday's training session.

"We always felt that it (coronavirus disruptions) wasn't going to be isolated to 2020 and there's going to be different times when this reality may occur," Magpies coach Nathan Buckley said.

"The fact that it's happened early in the season is probably no surprise.

"It wouldn't be the first and it's not going to be the last (time) that we're going to have to make adjustments like this."

Collingwood guns Jordan De Goey and Brodie Grundy both missed Monday's training session with what Buckley described as "a sniffle".

The star duo were ordered to stay away from the club and will not return until they receive negative COVID test results.

"Much to the coaches' chagrin, there's probably been more lost sessions to runny noses in the last couple of months than we would like," Buckley said.

"But they're the extra precautions that we're taking to make sure that we don't have a repeat of last year and we've done really well to keep COVID out of the AFL cohort for the large part."