Port's Wines, Bomber ban for virus breach

Steve Larkin
Australian Associated Press
Port Adelaide vice-captain Ollie Wines has breached the AFL's virus protocols
Port Adelaide vice-captain Ollie Wines has breached the AFL's virus protocols

Port Adelaide vice-captain Ollie Wines has been hit with a one-match ban by the AFL for breaking coronavirus protocols.

Wines' suspension follows Essendon novice Brandon Zerk-Thatcher also being banned from playing this weekend for his breach of the AFL's COVID-19 rules.

Both players have been suspended for one match in the AFL's hardline stance on any transgression.

Wines gave an interview on Wednesday to a television network outside his Adelaide house, breaking AFL rules dictating interviews must be held at a player's club or remotely via video links.

And Zerk-Thatcher is understood to have been visited at his Melbourne house by a friend, which breaks the competition's coronavirus conventions stating only essential visitors can enter a player's home.

The 21-year-old, who has played two AFL games, had self-reported to his club and the AFL and will miss Essendon's game on Sunday against Sydney.

Port and Wines admitted their error after the 25-year-old former captain was interviewed by AFL rights holder the Seven Network.

Wines will be banned from playing in Port's clash on Saturday night with arch foe Adelaide.

The AFL's general counsel Andrew Dillon said the league's protocols must be followed.

"The protocols are very clear that players and officials should only have essential visitors attend their homes," Dillon said in a statement.

"We acknowledge Ollie's remorsefulness for his mistake but all players and match-day officials need to abide by the protocols in place at the time."

Port had appealed for leniency for what the club's general manager of football Chris Davies described as an "inadvertent" breach.

"Ollie needs to own the fact that it happened," Davies told reporters on Thursday.

"This was a personal deal that Ollie has with that particular news organisation.

"The club was aware that the interview was going to happen and so we could have been clearer in terms of knowing where that should have occurred.

"Ollie should have known what the protocols are so this situation should have been avoided ... this is something that we could have done a whole heap better."

Davies said the coronavirus risk from Wines' interview was "no greater than a player going to a supermarket".

"But at the same time, we also understand it's a breach," he said.

Wines was barred on Thursday morning from Port's training and was tested during the day for COVID-19. He won't be allowed at the club until a negative result from the test is known.

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