The Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide have been granted special exceptions to coronavirus restrictions, allowing full-contact training under strict conditions within South Australian borders.
- SA authorities today granted both clubs exemptions for full-contact training in SA
- The state had previously rejected calls for such exemptions on public health grounds
- The Crows and Port are due to fly interstate on Sunday ahead of the restarted AFL season
The AFL clubs will be able to conduct full squad training sessions, including tackling, contact and match simulation under the exemption, announced by emergency management state coordinator and SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens this afternoon.
However, players will be required to stay at home when they are not at training sessions.
Outside of training, they will only be allowed to leave their places of residence for an essential purpose, such as to obtain medical supplies.
“This will allow the clubs to train on a comparative basis to other AFL teams preparing interstate,” a statement, released by SA Police this afternoon, reads.
South Australian authorities had previously rejected calls from the clubs to grant such exemptions, citing an unacceptable public health risk.
There have been no known cases of COVID-19 active in South Australia since last Friday, and no new cases diagnosed in the state since May 7.
The change comes as SA Premier Steven Marshall asks the AFL to allow the Power and the Crows to play a home Showdown in Round Two — the first game back after coronavirus restrictions are expected to be lifted — before setting up interstate.
Crows, Port due to depart state this week
The exemptions announced today won’t give the clubs much time before they had been due to leave the state for the Gold Coast, on Sunday, where they are expected to stay ahead of the resumption of the AFL season on June 11.
Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley yesterday questioned the strictness of South Australia’s coronavirus restrictions.
“We’re getting tested twice a week but I’m looking at the community, thinking ‘everyone else is having to live a pretty reasonable life’,” he told reporters yesterday.
He conceded, however, that AFL clubs had to keep themselves to a higher standard than members of the public when it comes to public health.
“There’s a standard that we’re applying to the football clubs in South Australia, we get it, we’re above the [community] level,” he said.
“We’re happy to live above the standard. We want to be community leaders.”
The Port Adelaide coach also criticised the AFL’s decision to accommodate both rival teams in the same Gold Coast hotel.
“We are archenemies … it doesn’t make a lot of sense to put them together,” he said.
But Adelaide Crows coach Matthew Nicks said at the time he had “no problem” with the teams sharing a hotel.