Swans isolate ahead of Richmond clash, caught up in COVID chaos

UPDATE: The Swans have been given permission to train on Tuesday. They will remain isolated on Tuesday morning, train on Tuesday afternoon, given that all relevant players and staff undergo a coronavirus test.

Sydney officials are confident the staff and players will be cleared to fly to Melbourne for this weekend's match against the Tigers at the MCG.

The Swans on Monday learned that they would have to isolate as a precaution as Brisbane has become gripped with a COVID crisis.

The Brisbane Lions have already been severely impacted by the events unfolding on the coast, with fans at the Round 2 match against Geelong at GMHBA stadium ordered to leave if they had been to Brisbane in the past 14 days.

By Sunday, the players were forced to leave a bus set to depart for the Airport to return to Brisbane, instead remaining in Melbourne in a mini-bubble.

By Tuesday morning, the 3 known cases in Brisbane had already expanded to 8 new confirmed COVID cases, with the city going into a snap 3-day lockdown.

"The health order that was announced last night in NSW is that anyone who's been in Brisbane since March 20 is required to stay at home until Thursday evening - so that obviously catches out our playing group and the staff," Swans chief executive Tom Harley told SEN Breakfast on Tuesday.

"I can say that on the relevant health websites for Queensland and NSW, we don't have any exposure to those sites so we are caught up in just the catch-all of the city of Brisbane.

"We're working with the AFL and the health authorities to get an understanding of the possibilities of exemptions, etc.

"But the immediate impact for us is we (have to) stay at home and we have to shift a few things around today with regards to training as we work through the finer details as to whether we're able to train as per normal prior to the lifting of the stay at home (order) - which is Thursday night.

"We'd typically train today and have a players' day off tomorrow - if we need to flip that around, so be it."

"We're absolutely preparing for that (game), we're preparing to have a good week of training - what that looks like, we'll work our way through.

"But (we're) fully expecting to jump on a plane."

The Lions are already set to spend the next two weeks in Victoria, which has also put the Swans in isolation and left them in a bind ahead of the their Round 3 clash this Saturday against Richmond.

Early Thursday's blockbuster clash between Brisbane and Collingwood, originally scheduled to be played at the GABBA - one of Brisbane's best money-making games of the season - has been moved to Marvel Stadium, with the AFL swapping the Round 3 fixture with Round 22.

The discussions had at AFLHQ over the weekend about the possibility of the Swans possibly isolating as a precaution, have been forced into effect by the snap three-day lockdown.

A public health order was issued on Monday instruction people who have been in Brisbane since March 20 and were now in NSW to observe the same three-day restrictions.

It means that Sydney Swans players and staff were forced isolate on Monday as they observed the same restrictions, and were left scrambling to gain exemptions from the NSW government to result training on Tuesday, and travel to Melbourne for Saturday's clash.

The Swans were working closely with the AFL and the relevant authorities, but are expecting to play Richmond at the MCG.

Senior coach John Longmire told reporters that the club will adapt.

"There's no point projecting in this environment. You move with it. We did last year and we move with it now," Longmire said.

"If you get notified at the last minute that things have changed, you just move with it pretty quickly, because you have to. And that's OK, everyone's accustomed to that last year. We went on a plane last year and we didn't know where we were going and certainly how long we were going for. We'll adjust if need be."


A club spokesman said the Swans were assessing the implication of the public health order.

"Sydney Swans players and staff who travelled to Brisbane in round one are abiding by NSW Health orders," the spokesperson said.

"The club, along with the AFL are working closely with the relevant authorities and we continue to prepare for this Saturday's match against Richmond at the MCG."

Whether the Swans will be able to train in that period depends on the NSW government, the AFL, and success of the isolation of the players and staff, and negative test results.

More to come.

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Justin Mitchell

Justin is a passionate AFL and Sydney Swans supporter, and football blogger since 2016. All articles are of his own opinion. You can reach him by twitter and Facebook at @theswansblog

Melbourne, Australia https://theswansblog.com

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