Three AFLW clubs are in quarantine as NBL hierarchy send the Perth Wildcats to Sydney in a bid to keep games ticking amid Western Australia’s coronavirus lockdown.
The five-day lockdown in WA announced on Sunday also forced cricket officials to move a BBL final in the latest sports fixturing headaches caused by COVID-19.
Perth Scorchers were to have hosted Thursday night’s crunch BBL final against Brisbane Heat, with the winner into the tournament’s final.
And the shift of the game to Canberra left Scorchers players disappointed at not being able to return to Perth, coach Adam Voges says.
“Initially they were disappointed that they weren’t going to get home,” Voges told reporters on Monday.
“You have got it in the back of your mind that you have earnt the right to play a home final … when that was taken away, they were a bit flat.
“But to their credit, they’re professional, they have been doing this for a long time now, so they will dust themselves off.”
WA’s swiftly announced lockdown, after a security guard at one of Perth’s quarantine hotels tested positive to COVID-19, has also impacted the AFLW schedule.
West Coast and Fremantle’s women’s teams are under the strict five-day lockdown while Adelaide and GWS jetted out of Perth on Sunday night after playing in the WA capital at the weekend.
On arrival in Adelaide, Crows players, coaches and staff were told to immediately self-isolate for 14 days after the SA government shut its WA border.
Adelaide’s men’s AFL stalwart Tom Lynch and Matthew Clarke, who coaches the women’s team while also being an assistant coach for the men’s squad, have also been ordered into quarantine.
GWS’ women’s squad don’t face a 14-day isolation period and were able to able to board a chartered flight from Adelaide to Sydney on Monday.
But Giants players and staffers are expected to self-isolate until at least Friday night, in line with NSW Health protocols.
The AFL put a pause on all fixtures involving Adelaide, Fremantle, GWS and West Coast, while pressing ahead with five other round-two matches scheduled in Melbourne from Friday night.
Meanwhile, the NBL shifted defending champions Perth Wildcats out of WA for at least the rest of February.
The Wildcats flew to Sydney on Monday with their scheduled home game on Friday night against the New Zealand Breakers postponed.
NBL commissioner Jeremy Loeliger said relocating the Wildcats would allow the season to continue.
He said the Wildcats would remain outside of WA until the completion of the NBL Cup due to start in Melbourne on February 20.
All nine NBL teams will be stationed in Melbourne and play each other once in the cup, a new initiative in the NBL season.
The cup will run concurrent with the NBL season proper, with results forming part of the championship season.