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COVID throws AFL clash into chaos

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26th March, 2021
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The AFL is dealing with more coronavirus complications as the Brisbane Lions face an uncertain wait to see if they can return to Queensland for their Easter Thursday clash with Collingwood.

Brisbane’s Friday night game in Geelong was thrown into chaos as new Victorian government advice about COVID-19 in Queensland came through less than an hour before the first bounce.

The game at GMHBA Stadium went ahead as the Cats defeated the Lions in a one-point thriller but the fallout could be significant.

Lions players and staff have been told to stay in their hotel rooms until being told what to do by the AFL.

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Brisbane are due to host the Magpies at the Gabba in five days in what is traditionally their biggest home game of the year.

Victoria’s health department has declared Brisbane and Moreton Bay COVID-19 hot spots and says anyone who has been in those areas since March 12 must self-isolate and be tested for coronavirus.

The Lions were given an exemption to play in Geelong as they are abiding by AFL protocols but a return to Brisbane is up in the air.

Eric Hipwood of the Lions celebrates a goal

(Photo by Jono Searle/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

“We have not received any information from the AFL,” said Lions coach Chris Fagan, who conducted his post-game press conference via video due to the health advice.

“We’re flying back (on Saturday) but that can change. As we know, life changes pretty quickly these days.”

Fagan admitted he was unsure if the game against Geelong would go ahead but protected his players from knowing the situation until an alert flashed up on the stadium scoreboard at quarter-time.

“I thought there was a chance it could be called off,” Fagan said.

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“I’m glad it wasn’t because it was one of the better games of Aussie rules football you will ever see.

“It didn’t upset the team because we didn’t talk about it. We just take our advice from the AFL and the governments.

“I’m not sure if the players knew about it but it certainly wasn’t a topic of conversation between myself and the players.”

Hawthorn legend and former Lions player Hodge, who retired from the AFL in 2019 after a decorated 346-game career, was forced to leave the ground as he travelled from Brisbane for the match.

North Melbourne great Wayne Carey was also directed to leave the Channel Seven commentary box, while a small contingent of travelling Lions supporters also had to depart the ground.

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The Lions’ AFLW team are also in Victoria and are due to play Melbourne at Casey Fields on Saturday.

© AAP