Sport AFL St Kilda settle into training in Noosa exodus

St Kilda settle into training in Noosa exodus

The Saints have a temporary new home in Noosa, Qld. Photo: AAP
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St Kilda are settling into their new AFL training hub in Noosa, hopeful it will only be a five-round stretch before they can get back to Melbourne.

The exodus of AFL clubs from Victoria began on Sunday with Collingwood and Hawthorn sharing a flight to Sydney while the Saints headed further north.

The league confirmed on Friday that all 10 Victorian clubs would be required to leave the state – which is gripped by a COVID-19 outbreak.

The Saints arrived into Queensland on Sunday night and are in lockdown for 14 days in the RACV Resort, which has been under construction and only reopened to accommodate the club.

They can only leave to use a training ground but have full use of the resort facilities, with it closed to the public, with the AFL footing the bill for accommodation and food.

On day 15 they will fly to Adelaide to take on the Crows and return to Noosa the following day.

Chief Operating Officer Simon Lethlean said players were excited to be in the new surrounds.

“We’re very lucky – got the whole resort to ourselves – it’s been under construction here so it’s been closed,” Lethlean told SEN radio on Monday morning.

“We’ve got a young group so lots of the boys are excited – it’s been a shut-down period back home, so lots of those guys haven’t seen each other properly so everyone’s excited to be around each other.”

Lethlean said they hadn’t been given any guarantees about how long they would need to be away from Melbourne, where COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise.

“Based on how the environment in Victoria is going I don’t think the AFL know what round 11 looks likes,” he said.

“We are ready for a five round block but we hope we then get a chance to reconnect with our families back home and reassess after that.”

He said veteran midfielder Dan Hannebery travelled with the squad, who are sitting fourth, despite a hamstring “nick” which will sideline him for a few more weeks.