More AFL clubs could soon be in hubs with officials scrambling to continue the season as fresh Queensland coronavirus protocols throw fixturing into chaos.
Six clubs have already been impacted by a Round 5 fixture reshuffle, with AFL boss Gillon McLachlan warning of more changes to come.
McLachlan says all states and territories are options as hubs.
That likelihood has increased with Queensland health officials issuing new directives which force Brisbane and Gold Coast into 14-day quarantine should they play a Melbourne-based club.
The Lions and Suns would also have to quarantine if they played in Melbourne, and against any team that had been in the Victorian capital in the preceding 14 days.
The directive has forced the AFL to recast Round 5 scheduling as Victoria’s coronavirus spike continues to worsen with 75 new cases announced on Monday.
“People understand that there’s going to be sacrifices made to get this season away,” McLachlan told reporters.
“The restrictions in hubs are getting less and less in other states so we can be a bit more flexible with it.
“All states and territories are an option, absolutely.”
Richmond’s scheduled Thursday night game against West Coast on the Gold Coast has been postponed.
Instead, Carlton will play St Kilda at Marvel Stadium on Thursday night in Melbourne – a game initially scheduled for Sunday.
Richmond will play Melbourne at the MCG on Sunday with the Eagles to meet Sydney at Metricon Stadium on Saturday.
Gold Coast’s game against Geelong at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday will proceed, though the high-flying Suns may not return to Queensland afterwards.
The Suns could remain in Victoria before their Round 6 game against Hawthorn.
“They might not go back to Queensland, they might go other routes,” McLachlan said.
“We will have advice on that in the coming days about how they traverse back to Queensland, whether they did go back into quarantine or they went a different way.”
The AFL would work through the implications for the following rounds before announcing any changes required for Rounds 6 and 7.
“At the moment we have got a fixture that is put out for this weekend and we will continue to look at things day-by-day,” McLachlan said.
“We have got 118 games to get away.
“We can compress, we can move, we can, if we need to, have a bye to reset.
“As we look ahead, I don’t think we need to do that but we have got options.”