Brisbane lockdown causes fixture headaches

·3-min read

The AFL has shifted a Brisbane Lions home game as Queensland's high-profile sporting teams scramble out of the state to avoid a COVID-19 lockdown.

The Lions' AFL squad will remain in Victoria with their scheduled home game against Collingwood on Thursday moved to Melbourne.

The shift came as the Brisbane Broncos' NRL team and Queensland cricket's one-day and Sheffield Shield squads hastily departed Brisbane on Monday ahead of the city's snap three-day lockdown amid a coronavirus outbreak.

Gold Coast AFL players and staff will also join the exodus.

Even though Gold Coast are not based in a hotspot, the Suns will fly to Adelaide on Tuesday ahead of Friday night's clash with the Crows.

The club will leave two days earlier than planned in the event coronavirus cases emerge on the Gold Coast.

The Broncos and cricketers flew to Sydney while doubt hovers over A-League and W-League fixtures.

An NBL game scheduled for Brisbane on Friday has been postponed.

The Queensland Reds will also remain in Sydney ahead travelling to Melbourne for their next Super Rugby fixture on Saturday.

Brisbane's primetime AFL fixture against the Magpies on Thursday night has been shifted from the Gabba to Melbourne's Marvel Stadium.

The Lions have flown squad reinforcements to Melbourne ahead of Brisbane's three-day lockdown starting at 5pm AEST Monday.

The Lions had remained in Victoria since their loss to Geelong last Friday night with captain Dayne Zorko admitting some relief at the venue change for Thursday's match.

"Now we have some sort of idea what's going on," Zorko told reporters.

The AFL will await the outcome of Brisbane's lockdown before deciding what to do next with the Lions, whose following fixture on April 10 is against the Western Bulldogs in the Victorian city of Ballarat.

In the NRL, the Broncos were given just hours warning of their flight departing for Sydney, where they will be based for at least the next 10 days.

The Broncos play the Melbourne Storm in Melbourne on Friday before an away clash against South Sydney on April 8.

"The players and staff have taken the changes in their stride," interim Broncos chief executive Neil Monaghan said.

"While it's tough on many of our team with young families, they are keen to get on the road and prepare for a great challenge against the Storm."

Broncos players were tested for COVID-19 over the weekend and returned negative results.

North Queensland and Cronulla are considering charter flights to the Sunshine Coast for their NRL clash on Saturday to avoid transit through Brisbane while Gold Coast host Canberra at home on Saturday in a match likely to go ahead as planned because the city is not part of the Brisbane lockdown.

But Queensland's cricketers relocated to Sydney on Monday ahead of one-day and Sheffield Shield fixtures - a limited-overs game against NSW at North Sydney Oval on Wednesday and a Shield game against the Blues in Wollongong from Saturday.

The lockdown could also cost Brisbane's top-four W-League outfit a home final, with their semi-final set for Sunday or Monday.

The W-League's finals standings will be finalised after Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory meet on Wednesday while in the A-League, Brisbane Roar's League home clash against Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday could be postponed.

In the NBL, the game between the Brisbane Bullets and South East Melbourne Phoenix scheduled for Brisbane on Friday, has been postponed.

The Illawarra Hawks now play South East Melbourne Phoenix on Thursday in Wollongong.

Also on Thursday, the Perth Wildcats and the Sydney Kings will clash in Perth.

The game between Melbourne United and the Cairns Taipans at John Cain Arena on Friday will go ahead as scheduled.

Further changes will be announced on Tuesday to the schedule for Rounds 12-14 and the full schedule of games for Round 15.

The Australian Water Polo League, set to feature 10 teams from across the country in Brisbane from Wednesday, has been cancelled.