WEST COAST and Fremantle are in their Gold Coast hubs.
But how are they keeping occupied? And why are they there?
AFL.com.au reporter Riley Beveridge breaks down the latest from the Gold Coast hubs to 'keep things simple' for you, explaining what it means for the four teams based there.
WHO IS IN THE HUBS?
The two West Australian sides – West Coast and Fremantle – arrived at their Gold Coast hub (Royal Pines Resort) earlier this week. Meanwhile, the two South Australian sides – Adelaide and Port Adelaide – will venture to their Gold Coast hub (Palm Meadows Resort) after their round two clash at the Adelaide Oval. Both sides will be based in Queensland until at least the end of round five, before their situations will be re-evaluated depending on the latest travel restrictions in their respective states.
WHY ARE THEY IN THE HUBS?
The global COVID-19 pandemic has meant different states from across Australia have reopened their respective borders at different times. Western Australia and South Australia have both not allowed AFL clubs exemptions to travel in and out of their states without undergoing strict quarantine protocols, meaning football is unable to be played in either. It has left West Coast, Fremantle, Adelaide and Port Adelaide needing to be based interstate to ensure they can resume the season. After discussions, all four clubs elected to be based in Gold Coast.
WHAT ARE THEY DOING IN THE HUB?
As well as training and undergoing strict social distancing protocols, the players will have a fair bit of time for themselves within their luxury resorts. While they can't play golf or surf on the Gold Coast, they do have a number of other options available to them. Each team will be separate from the other within their respective hubs, enjoying their own levels within the living area for food and activities. There is a games room, where the players can play PlayStation, while there is also a physio room and separate gyms and aquatic centres. There is a barista that operates daily to serve coffee, as well as converted rugby fields with AFL goal posts. There are also cars available in order for players to leave the hubs, with two players allowed in each car. However, should they leave, they must uphold the strict social distancing protocols that are in place. Players had the option of bringing their families with them to Gold Coast, with a handful of West Coast players – but no Fremantle players – doing so in the early stages of the hub. It is not yet known whether Adelaide and Port Adelaide players will bring their families when they arrive next week. The training and testing rules in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic will remain, with each team to receive testing twice per week during their stays in the hub.
FIXTURE REVEAL New timeslot, primetime crackers, double-headers
WHERE WILL THEY PLAY THEIR GAMES?
West Coast and Fremantle will each play three of their four Queensland-based games at Metricon Stadium, with the other to be played at the Gabba. Only one of these matches will count as official 'home' games, ensuring the two clubs have a run of traditional 'home' fixtures at Optus Stadium in Western Australia towards the end of the season. Adelaide and Port Adelaide have received a government exemption to play the Showdown in South Australia this week, before travelling to Queensland one week later. They will each play two of their three Queensland-based games at Metricon Stadium, with the other at the Gabba. One of these will count as a 'home' match.
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A QUICK REFRESHER ON THIS SEASON?
The season will resume as a shortened 17-match campaign due to the global COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent suspension period that was enforced upon the AFL. Quarters will be reduced to 16 minutes due to players having limited time to prepare for the resumption of play, but interchange benches will remain capped at four. The traditional four-week finals series will remain, with the Grand Final now expected to fall in either late October or early November. Crowds will be unable to attend games in Victoria and Queensland from round two, however games in New South Wales and South Australia will be allowed to accommodate a small number of supporters. Due to the ever-changing nature of the pandemic, the fixture will be released in four-week blocks to allow the AFL the flexibility to navigate the fluid situation. The next block of fixtures is expected to be released after round three.