PERTH’S Optus Stadium has been given the green light to host a capacity AFL grand-final crowd with no further COVID-19 cases having emerged.
West Australian Premier Mark McGowan says no restrictions will be imposed on Saturday’s premiership decider between Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs after a visiting truck driver tested positive upon returning to NSW.
“We’re very, very confident that there’s nothing to stop the game going ahead,” he told reporters on Thursday.
A second driver who travelled in the same truck has tested negative and 22 identified contacts are isolating. Most are believed to be linked to roadhouses and fuel stops where the pair stopped during their two-day visit last week.
More than 60,000 people are expected to attend the grand final with no requirement to wear masks or practice physical distancing.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said he had great faith in the WA government given the state’s success in preventing any major virus outbreaks.
“Clearly there was an aspect of … it’s been that sort of year,” he said wryly.
“But we leave it to the people who know what they’re doing and take their advice, and I think the premier’s given a pretty detailed assessment of where everything sits.
“We’re confident and excited.”
Demons players and officials have been free to roam around Perth for almost two weeks while the Bulldogs emerged from quarantine over the weekend.
McLachlan said there would be no restrictions imposed on the competing teams in light of the positive case.
“I’d be surprised if they’re leaving their hotels,” he said.
“They’ll go for a walk and stretch their legs but we’re here in part because of their resilience and their discipline.
“I’ve got great confidence in the playing groups. All they want to do is hold (the premiership cup) aloft at the end of the game and I don’t think they’re going to be taking any risks.”
Bulldogs captain Marcus Bontempelli said the unfolding health situation would not drastically affect his team’s preparation.
“We already probably discussed about using the early part of the week to find your balance and freshen up and use your time away from the hotel,” he told Fox Footy.
“Still get out from the hotel if you need to but start to focus on what’s to come and make good decisions on where you spend your time.”
(C) AAP 2021