Power assistant keen on AFL derby restart

Shayne Hope
Port Adelaide's Showdown with Adelaide Crows could be one of the early games when the AFL returns

Port Adelaide assistant coach Jarrad Schofield has backed calls for local derbies to kick-start the AFL season when it resumes.

The theory has been floated as a way of delaying AFL teams' interstate travel requirements by another week, allowing more time for state government coronavirus restrictions to possibly be eased further.

It comes as Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan on Sunday reaffirmed his commitment to the state's hard border policy for the foreseeable future, which presents a hurdle for the AFL's restart plans.

Fremantle and West Coast could be forced to temporarily relocate to Melbourne and play a string of away games upon the competition's resumption.

A similar situation faces South Australian clubs Adelaide and Port Adelaide, who could yet be given special permission to fly in and out of their home base for away matches.

As it stands, the SA and WA clubs would require government exemptions to play competitive fixtures against their local rivals on home soil before travelling for interstate fixtures.

Former Power, Eagles and Dockers midfielder Schofield welcomed the idea of local derbies featuring as part of the AFL's restart, which could be as soon as next month.

"I'm all for it if we were to have a Showdown against the Crows," Schofield told ABC Perth's Sunday Footy Forum.

"That was our scheduled game in round two ... so it would be no different to what the original fixture was going to be (before the 2020 season was put on hold in March).

"If West Coast had to play Freo, I reckon they'd be happy with it.

"You'd even go as far as the Queensland teams playing each other, the Sydney teams playing each other and Melbourne teams stay in Melbourne.

"It gives the competition another week and then you go from there."

The AFL is preparing to release its return-to-play plan after Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews provides an update on his state's coronavirus restrictions on Monday.