PORT ADELAIDE General Manager – Football, Chris Davies is expecting Victorian clubs to have to leave their home state in order for the AFL season to continue, suggesting the already fixtured Round 6 and 7 could be updated as soon as later this week.
Davies was speaking after the South Australian Government announced it would not open its border to Victoria on July 20 as planned because of the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in that state.
SA Premier Steven Marshall has made it clear that the state’s AFL teams would have to quarantine for 14 days if they play against Victorian teams, and any team from Victoria would need to quarantine for 14 days upon entry into South Australia.
Port Adelaide is scheduled to play St Kilda in Melbourne in Round 7 and that fixture is now in doubt.
At a press conference at the Gold Coast resort where Port Adelaide has been residing as part of the Queensland hub, Davies said he was not surprised by the South Australian Government’s announcement.
“It was inevitable, once the numbers in Victoria started to climb as we’ve seen over the last few days,” he said.
“Understanding that our time in this hub ends after our game on Saturday night and the remainder of the fixture, the AFL will work through over the next couple of days.”
Port will leave the hub on Sunday, sharing a plane home to Adelaide with the Crows, before planning a return to the Gold Coast for the Round 6 game against GWS at Metricon Stadium, although Davies said that fixture could also be updated as soon as this week.
“We’re going home on Sunday. What happens from there we’ll have to see what unfolds in terms of where we can play our next lot of games,” he said.
“Right now, that remains to be seen what the next step of our fixture is and as it stands at the moment, even Round 6, our game against GWS will be under some sort of question as well, certainly up here.
“We’re going to have to work through that once we know the actual draw of the fixture.”
As for what happens next, Davies said he expected to see Victorian teams have to leave their home state for a similar hub situation.
“There’s no doubt that the Perth-based and South Australian-based teams have done the heavy lifting early on,” Davies said.
“I imagine that from here, it’s going to require the Victorian teams to get out of their home state as well.
“The one thing that we know for sure is that we’re playing Brisbane on Saturday night and at this stage our flight home is on Sunday.”
Port Adelaide enters that game unbeaten in 2020 and sitting top of the ladder.
The game at the Gabba on Saturday night presents another challenge against the third-placed Lions.
Davies said regardless of the result, he was proud of the way the Port Adelaide coaches and players had responded to the uncertainty of the season and being away from home in Queensland.
“Our guys have done a fantastic job in terms of being as positive as we can be about being up here,” he said.
“For us, so far, winning helps, but I’m really proud of the way that our coach and players have embraced the two and a half weeks that we would have been here by the time we go on the weekend.
“Whatever needs to happen from here, we’ll do in order to ensure the AFL season continues on, just as we have done the last three weeks and just as we’ve said we were going to do for the last seven.
“The teams that get through this season and play in the finals will be the teams that have adapted to the circumstances that they’re faced with.
“Right now, we’ve been able to do that, how that unfolds through the course of this season only time will tell, but there’s no doubt in my mind that this will be a season like no other and whoever ends up winning it will have done the hard yards.”