Despite the unfolding coronavirus chaos, A-League and W-League fixtures went ahead as scheduled on the weekend, albeit behind closed doors.
What comes next, no one is quite sure.
A meeting of a hastily commissioned Football Federation Australia working group of stakeholders was due to meet on Sunday night to formulate a more formal plan for the weeks ahead.
FFA CEO James Johnson emphasised in a Friday evening teleconference with journalists that a “whole of football approach” was needed to address the evolving situation.
A clearer picture is expected by Monday morning, although the 14-day isolation periods for all individuals entering New Zealand and Australia has made it difficult for the A-League to find a workaround that does not involve a suspension of play.
Third-placed Wellington Phoenix now plans to relocate to Australia on Tuesday, with chief executive David Dome saying on Sky Sport on Sunday “We want to finish the season”.
“That’s why we were open to the idea of basing ourselves in Australia for the rest of the games.”
Wellington effectively ended Melbourne Victory’s season on Sunday with a 3-0 defeat, with the Melbourne side attempting a late dash to the airport to avoid the isolation period.
Victory’s matches against Brisbane Roar and Perth Glory could be delayed if the players are forced into isolation.
Any potential suspension of the league will play havoc with A-League player contracts, which end on May 31.
Many players on expiring deals have already signed deals to play for other clubs, both in Australia and overseas.
Sky Blue treble
There was some football played on the weekend, with defending champion Sydney FC winning its way through to its third W-League grand final in as many years when the Sky Blues defeated Melbourne Victory 1-0 at Epping Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Though defeated 3-1 by Victory in the final game of the regular season, the Sky Blues took the lead in the 14th minute when a perfect ball into the penalty area by Ally Green found a gap between Victory defender Jenna McCormick and keeper Casey Dumont and was turned in by Veronica Latsko.
An Angie Beard-inspired Victory threw everything at the visitors as it looked to erase the lead in the second half but, for all the promising build-up, it was denied by a dogged Sydney defence.
Sydney will play record-setting premiers Melbourne City in next week’s grand final after coach Rado Vidosic’s side put Western Sydney Wanderers to the sword in their semi-final on Sunday afternoon.
Goals from Claire Emslie, Kyah Simon and Rebekah Stott had the hosts up 3-0 at halftime and, though Cortnee Vine dragged one back for Wanderers, Simon and an own goal from Courtney Nevin ensured City ran out 5-1 victors.
Set to start as heavy favourites as it looks to make it four titles in five years, City is planning to play the fixture behind closed doors at AAMI Park should it go ahead.
“We’re just waiting to hear what the FFA, government and, most importantly, health officials tell us,” City CEO Brad Rowse said.
Friday: Brisbane Roar 1-0 Central Coast Mariners
Saturday: Sydney FC 0-0 Perth Glory; Melbourne City 1-1 Western Sydney Wanderers
Sunday: Wellington Phoenix 3-0 Melbourne Victory; Adelaide United 0-3 Newcastle Jets
Saturday: Melbourne Victory 0-1 Sydney FC
Sunday: Melbourne City 5-1 Western Sydney Wanderers