Queensland AFL teams ready to embrace extended road trip caused by Victoria's coronavirus crisis
Queensland’s AFL teams have never been better placed, but are facing at least a month away from home due to Victoria’s coronavirus crisis.
Gold Coast and Brisbane (both 3-1) have taken full advantage of the south-east Queensland hub to respectively sit second and third on the ladder after round four.
But their 2020 campaign will become significantly tougher following new Queensland government health protocols in response to Victorian COVID-19 cases rising at alarming levels.
Fixture change works in our favour: Eagles
Cometti fears for AFL 2020 future in face of COVID
Derby loser to put line through 2020
From this week, all Queensland sporting teams must self-isolate for 14 days if they play a Melbourne team, play a match in Victoria, or face a team that has been in Victoria during the previous two weeks.
Despite Monday’s ruling, the Suns’ round-five trip to play Geelong at GMHBA Stadium this Saturday is set to go ahead.
AFL boss Gillon McLachlan said the Suns would then be likely to go into quarantine or fly to another state after playing Hawthorn at the MCG in round six in order to comply with the new regulations.
But Gold Coast football boss Jon Haines said the Suns will not be complaining about any lengthy away schedule and will embrace the challenge.
In 2018, the Suns were unable to play at their Metricon Stadium headquarters until round 11 because of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
“The guys love spending time together. We’re a really tight group in that sense. So we’ll relish the opportunity to go on the road,” Haines told reporters.
“We’re open-minded to what the future looks like ... we’re happy to go anywhere to play footy and to help the competition continue.”
Brisbane - who face Port Adelaide at the Gabba on Saturday - are due to face Collingwood in round six at the MCG on July 10, but there are no guarantees that game will go ahead as planned.
“The implications are being worked through. We’ve got a fixture for this weekend and will look ahead,” McLachlan said.
The buoyant Suns have never finished inside the top-eight since entering the AFL in 2011, while the Lions last year played finals for the first time since 2009.