AFL SUNS POWER
South Australia's AFL clubs are prepared to move interstate within days if the state's health authorities reject a last-ditch appeal to relax coronavirus training protocols.
SA's training protocols are now the stumbling block to the AFL resuming, after WA on Thursday granted West Coast and Fremantle exemptions.
The WA clubs will be allowed to do contact training from May 25.
But SA's health officials are steadfast that Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide players can't perform contact training until June 8 - just three days before one suggested date for the AFL resuming competition.
The AFL, Port Adelaide and the Crows are appealing to SA authorities to join other states in permitting contact training.
If rejected, SA's clubs are resigned to moving within days to a quarantine hub interstate to give the AFL certainty about a resumption timetable.
"We would probably only need days (notice) really to be able to move," Adelaide's head of football Adam Kelly told reporters on Thursday.
AFL players are currently restricted to training in pairs due to varying rules across the states, with SA the last state to resist an exemption for contact training.
WA Premier Mark McGowan on Thursday said West Coast and Fremantle would be allowed contact training from May 25.
But McGowan was not willing to grant travel exemptions, effectively pushing both WA clubs into quarantine hubs interstate.
Adelaide's Kelly said his club would follow any AFL any directive about where they would be located in a hub.
The Eagles, Dockers and Power have all stated a preference to be based in Queensland.
Port's head of football Chris Davies said his club could fly interstate as soon as next week if the training exemption was refused.
"Right now, obviously we're working with both the AFL and the government in the hope that we can get some of the training requirements organised such that we don't have to move in the short term," Davies told reporters on Thursday.
SA's chief medical officer Nicola Spurrier said she would consider the training exemption request.
But Professor Spurrier said it was "an unacceptable risk" for the Crows and Power to not self-isolate for 14 days on return from any interstate games.
The Crows and Power both expressed disappointment at the SA health ruling.
Port's Davies said the Crows' coronavirus training breach had an impact on the decision.
A group of 16 Crows players broke AFL coronavirus protocols last week when training en masse at the Barossa Valley.
The players and assistant coach Ben Hart were quarantined for 14 days, under SA protocols, at a golf resort after returning from interstate.
The AFL gave the 16 players a suspended one-game sanction and stood Hart down from coaching for six weeks.
"I don't think that even the staunchest Crows supporter would believe that it has had a positive impact," Davies said.
"Confidence in the way that the industry goes about things is vitally important."
North Melbourne and Hawthorn's hopes of hosting games in Tasmania this year have faded with Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein saying his state would not be able to "accommodate" AFL football under its current border restrictions.