The AFL player who visited a COVID-exposed site has tested negative, ensuring Friday night’s top-of-the-table clash is one step closer to getting the green light to proceed.
Melbourne’s coronavirus outbreak and associated border closures has forced the AFL to tinker with its round-11 fixture, meaning Saturday’s Gold Coast-Hawthorn game and Sunday’s Richmond-Adelaide match will both be held in Sydney.
The league also held its collective breath when news broke a Melbourne Demons player had visited a tier-one exposed site.
But the player, who will now be forced to self-isolate for a fortnight, has since returned a negative test.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan, speaking on Thursday, expressed confidence the much-anticipated match between ladder-leaders Western Bulldogs and second-placed Melbourne would proceed as planned.
Melbourne, whose staff and players had COVID-19 swabs on Thursday, are still awaiting the final few test results.
“They’ll come back this morning and it’s very much expected they’ll all be negative,” Demons football boss Alan Richardson told SEN on Friday.
“This thing can change hour by hour.
“But we’re definitely thinking the game is well and truly on tonight, we’re really looking forward to that.”
Richardson praised his club’s players for ticking off pre-game requirements on Zoom during a chaotic Thursday.
“It’s a pretty important day but not a massive day in your prep,” he said.
“The coach goes through his plans. You have a bit of a kick and a catch.
“It’s challenging trying to do a physical activation on Zoom but the boys got it done, it was good.”