THE FOUR AFL clubs required to enter hub life in order to re-start the 2020 season will do so in two of the Gold Coast's premier golf resorts.
Complexes at Palm Meadows and Royal Pines will each house two teams.
WA CLUBS CLEARED TO TRAIN Premier slams 'pampered' Vic rivals
West Coast, Fremantle, Adelaide and Port Adelaide will get full-run of the facilities when they reside there from either late this month or early June, in readiness for match resumption in June.
Club presidents and CEOs will on Friday morning be formally briefed by the AFL on the competition’s plans to re-start training and playing.
A public announcement pertaining to those plans will follow.
In advance of that briefing, the Crows were planning on Thursday night to be based on the Gold Coast by Monday week.
With the four WA and SA teams temporarily added to the south-east Queensland mix, they will play a series of matches against each other and Brisbane and Gold Coast as a means to get some of the remaining 144 matches of 2020 completed.
With round one matches to count, and with the season reduced to 17 home-and-away matches per the 18 teams, the fact Gold Coast hosted Port Adelaide back in round one, after which the AFL suspended the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will mean that particular match-up cannot occur again.
There are widely varying views from the clubs which will be forced into hub life regarding the players' partners and children, from a preference of a blanket ban to full inclusion.
'NO JAB, NO PLAY' Government orders Suns, Lions to have flu shot
The ultimate decision on this front may be left to the respective clubs.
The complexes at Palm Meadows and Royal Pines are in close proximity to Metricon Stadium, the Suns' stunning home base, and about 80km from the Gabba, the Lions' home.
While the AFL has had plans to make a public announcement about its return to training and playing plans for each of the past four days, it is now expected to do so on Friday.
It briefed clubs late Thursday afternoon.
Officially mandated training will commence from next week, but given the non-alignment of state governments on all aspects of social distancing requirements, it is yet to be determined whether that will initially be in groups of 10, or as full squads.
'NOT A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD' Why Horse is worried
Players forced into hubs will have a strict set of guidelines by which to live, with their requirements different to those returning to their clubs.
For players who will be returning to clubs – those at the 10 Victorian and two NSW teams – a thorough education program will be enforced before entry.
DON'T MAKE IT A WITCH-HUNT Danger on player penalties
Included in that will be the banning of playing golf and eating or drinking in cafes and restaurants.
Those particular rules were relayed to the players on Wednesday, and while they are beyond current social distancing regulations in all states, there was near widespread acceptance.
The playing group, though, has asked that the list of restrictions placed on them not be made public, to ease the amount of "policing" of their every action by members of the public and certain sections of the media.
Those based in the south-east Queensland hubs will be allowed to play golf, given their accommodation options are effectively located on golf course, and the entire complexes will be locked-off from the public.
COVID-19 MASS TESTING Players, staff tested as return nears
The AFL continues to focus on a June 11 return match, but some players and clubs believe due to the timeline setbacks due to the WA and SA governments, that that date is now all but out of reach.
With it now accepted that the broadcasters – Channel 7 and Foxtel – want a "traditional" fixture (matches played Thursday through to Sunday) when matches return, it is expected that a Thursday night – possibly June 18 – would be the designated evening for the game's comeback.