The Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide Power have received a significant boost after the South Australian Government granted the squads permission to train in their home state.
On Thursday, South Australian health officials confirmed AFL players would not be granted an exemption to coronavirus restrictions and would be limited to training in pairs. The Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide Power would therefore not be able to fly in and out of the state due to the “unnecessary public health risk”.
A letter addressed to AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan read: “The restrictions on training for sport in South Australia should apply equally to the AFL.
“As players across the league are currently restricted to training in pairs due to varying rules across the states, it appears likely the two SA clubs will have to relocate to allow all 18 clubs to quickly progress to full training.”
However, the South Australia Government backflipped on the decision on Tuesday, revealing South Australian players may commence contact training along with the other 16 AFL clubs on Monday.
The Crows and Power therefore would not be required to travel to the Gold Coast and isolate in hubs.
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“(South Australian) Police Commissioner Grant Stevens has this afternoon provided exemptions to both the Adelaide and Port Adelaide Football Clubs allowing full squad training sessions, including tackling, contact and match simulation in South Australia,” a statement read.
“Determining that these particular players fall within the ambit of elite athletes; commissioner Stevens has directed that these exemptions will be subject to a range of conditions including remaining in their respective places of residence and only permitted to travel to and from the particular training venue when required to do so.
“They may leave their residence for essential reasons such as seeking medical assistance.
“This will allow the two clubs to train on a comparative basis to other AFL teams preparing interstate.”
Herald Sun journalist Jon Ralph reported Port Adelaide received no advanced warning of the easing of restrictions, but were enthused by the decision.
Both South Australian teams now have an additional three weeks to train on home turf.
The decision also means there is still a possibility of a South Australian derby at home in round two when the premiership recommenced on June 11th.
7 News reported premier Steven Marshall is pushing for a South Australian Showdown at Adelaide Oval to get the competition back underway. The Crows and Power were scheduled to face off in round two before the coronavirus shutdown.
“There is a clear hope of a Round 2 showdown in the state. Maybe a Showdown on a Friday night and by mid-June, there is hope the South Australian restrictions will be eased,” Ralph told AFL Tonight.
“The home ground advantage of Adelaide Oval would be returned to them.
“There is still a lot of water to go under the bridge, but at the very least these clubs are out of hubs and in their own beds until the middle of June, which is a really good thing for the AFL’s bank balance but the potential for Port Adelaide to win the premiership this year.”
Meanwhile, the 16 Adelaide Crows players who broke coronavirus training protocols were released from quarantine on Tuesday.
The players received a one-match ban and were forced to quarantine for 14 days after training in groups of eight at the Barossa Valley earlier this month.
“We just made a mistake,” Crows defender Tom Doedee told reporters on Tuesday.
“We were out and about having a run and everyone was just so excited to be out there.
“I’m not going to harp on it too much … hindsight would be a wonderful thing, if I had my time again we would change some stuff.”