AFL teams flee amid new Covid crisis

The Western Bulldogs will join Sydney and Greater Western Sydney in evacuating Victoria on Thursday morning amid fears the escalating Covid crisis in Melbourne could yet impact this weekend’s games.

GWS football manager Jason McCartney confirmed the Giants would leave on Thursday morning and could be based in Brisbane for some time with the Swans.

The Swans and Giants are yet to have a venue for their derby clash that won’t be played in Ballarat as scheduled after both teams were told to leave Victoria, where they had been playing out of a hub after fleeing NSW last month.

“We will be based in Brisbane for the next few days and beyond the game we will look at what options and where we want to set up camp semi-permanently for the rest of the season until we move somewhere else,” McCartney told RSN.

“The players have been fantastic, they just take it in their stride. To be on a Thursday without a venue this weekend, it’s just part and parcel of it. It just feels like we’re in the amazing race at the moment”

Sydney and GWS will play their Ballarat contest in Queensland after flying out at 8.45am to Brisbane on a chartered flight.

Cleared for takeoff ✈️ pic.twitter.com/WSGjkUYNS9

The AFL is still trying to reunite players and their families, which could now happen in Queensland.

Sydney chief executive Tom Harley said on Thursday the Swans did not even know where they would be staying in Queensland.

“We are playing the Giants, we know that much and it will be in Queensland somewhere. but outside of that, it’s moved really quickly and we are playing 1.45pm on Saturday. It’s been a disruptive week on a number of fronts, but it’s our turn to work our way through that,” he told SEN.

“Our primary concern has been the reunification of partners and families. It’s been over three weeks now. We are working closely with the AFL on what the options might be for that. It will continue to be the case regardless of where the team is based.”

The Bulldogs are set to play the Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium on Saturday and have left early to avoid any potential border issues.

The Victorian government has made no decision on whether to ban crowds this weekend after at least one patron was Covid-positive at the MCG at the Carlton-Geelong game.

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