Port Adelaide assistant coach Michael Voss is hopeful AFL clubs’ planned adherence to season restart protocols will convince the South Australian government to further ease restrictions sooner than expected.
And that could mean the Power and cross-town rivals Adelaide won’t have to relocate to a Queensland hub after all.
The 2020 season will recommence on June 11, reportedly with a Richmond-Collingwood meeting to be followed by a Showdown in South Australia the same week.
The latter fixture comes after SA premier Steven Marshall lobbied AFL boss Gillon McLachlan in a plea for the Showdown to be played in its home state.
It would give Port Adelaide and Adelaide one more week at home before their planned temporary relocation to the Gold Coast.
It would also leave more time for SA to potentially lift the quarantine restrictions that, as it stands, prevent clubs from flying in and out of the state for matches.
However, there’s yet to be any public indication that the SA government will ease border controls to a level where the Power and Crows could fly in and out each week.
“We feel like that once we can get into games and governments can look at how we’re actually monitoring it and how serious we are about doing it the right way, they’ll feel a lot more comfortable about being able to release further restrictions,” Voss told Fox Footy on Wednesday night.
“We’re hopeful, but at the same time we can only operate with the information that’s in front of us, and that is that we’re still expecting to go into that hub if needed at the start of the season.”
In a surprise move on Tuesday, the SA clubs were given permission to resume contact training from next Monday.
It had previously been barred in the state until June 8, but the SA government’s updated ruling opened the door for the Round 2 Showdown.
“It seems an appropriate way to be able to kick off the season for us,” Voss said.
The AFL is expected to release the first block of fixtures – up to four weeks’ worth – for the season restart by the end of the month.