A ROUND two Showdown could be back on the cards, with the South Australian Government approving Adelaide and Port Adelaide for full-contact training.
The two clubs were set to temporarily relocate to the Gold Coast on Sunday ahead of training on Monday but can instead remain in South Australia in the lead-up to the season.
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This development removes the disadvantage they faced, given the rest of their AFL rivals can remain in their respective states as they step up to twice-weekly contact sessions from Monday.
In a further boost, SA Premier Steven Marshall has endorsed the Showdown being played before the Crows and Power leave the state for Queensland.
"I'm hoping it can – I think that's a very logical fixture," Marshall told FiveAA radio.
"I have spoken to the AFL about that possibility but they ultimately will be the ones that do the fixtures, so we'll just be waiting to see what they come out with.
"But could you imagine it? Port and Crows, it would give them another week in South Australia and again that would be a big benefit to the family and friends and a lot of the workers who are assisting those teams."
SA's emergency management state coordinator, police commissioner Grant Stevens, revealed the new exemptions for the Crows and Power on Tuesday afternoon.
They will be able to complete contact training, including tackling and match simulation, with the government determining they fell "within the ambit of elite athletes".
The exemptions are subject to a range of strict conditions and they are expected to only travel to and from their training venue when required.
Adelaide and Port Adelaide players can also leave home for essential reasons, such as seeking medical assistance.
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Crows chief executive Andrew Fagan was delighted his club representatives would be able to stay home for longer.
"It's really positive news for the club and particularly our playing group, coaches and football staff, who now have the peace of mind they can stay at home and conduct full-contact training, starting from Monday, like other AFL teams across the country," Fagan said.
"It will allow us to maximise our preparation in the lead-up to the restart of the season and, obviously, in some instances limit the time our people are away from loved ones.
"We appreciate the support of the State Government, South Australia Police and relevant health authorities, and commend them on their efforts in limiting the spread of COVID-19 in this state."
Port Adelaide chief executive Keith Thomas echoed Fagan's sentiments.
"This afternoon's decision is a very significant gesture from the State Government and on behalf of the club we are very grateful for this exemption," Thomas said.
"The decision is important for a number of reasons, not least of all that it will allow our players and staff to remain at home with their families in at least the short term, as we prepare for the restart of the AFL season on an equal footing with all other clubs.
"We understand this exemption comes with strict protocols and conditions. We totally respect this and have always maintained that the health and safety of our players, staff and the broader community is paramount."
The clubs will eventually move into a hub situation in Queensland for the early stages of the season, given the SA Government hasn't given them permission to fly in and out of the state for games.
Fremantle and West Coast are in the same position and will join the SA teams, Brisbane and Gold Coast in playing each other at the Gabba and Metricon Stadium in the early rounds.
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The AFL's fixture boss, Travis Auld, told ABC Grandstand radio on Sunday the League's preference was to hold the Showdown and Derby later in the year.
"If we can, we'll avoid the Derby and the Showdown in that first four-week period ideally and hold it back to the back end of the season," Auld said.
"Whether we can achieve that, I'm just not sure at the moment."
However, the Crows and Power are believed to be keen to play a round two Showdown before heading to the Gold Coast for a block of matches.