Vic government delays call on crowd sizes

·3-min read

Ticket sales for this weekend's AFL matches in Melbourne are on hold while the Victorian government decides if the latest COVID-19 outbreak will impact crowd sizes at sporting events in the city.

The government on Tuesday announced new restrictions, but the AFL is hopeful fans can still attend Friday night's highly-anticipated top-two clash between the Western Bulldogs and Melbourne at Marvel Stadium.

The AFL announced on Tuesday morning it would pause ticket sales for games in round 11 and 12 while it awaits further directions.

Acting premier James Merlino said authorities were reviewing the situation surrounding sports crowds.

"For footy crowds and for other events there will be a public events advisory panel which will advise of any changes - we're not making any announcements today," Merlino said.

Western Bulldogs players and staff had coronavirus tests on Tuesday morning and are self-isolating until they receive negative results, after a staff member visited Highpoint shopping centre when it was a coronavirus-exposed site.

The Bulldogs expected "minimal disruption" to their preparations for Friday's game.

Other AFL matches scheduled in Melbourne include Saturday games featuring Collingwood and Geelong at the MCG and St Kilda and North Melbourne at Marvel, while Richmond host Adelaide at the MCG on Sunday.

Meanwhile Essendon confirmed they expected to travel to Perth as planned on Friday - with a few members of their travelling party flying a day earlier, as per usual for away trips ahead of Saturday night's clash with West Coast at Optus Stadium.

The Bombers will need to quarantine on arrival until they receive negative coronavirus test results, in line with Western Australia's new border restrictions for those travelling from Victoria.

The outbreak has hit the Melbourne Rebels' Super Rugby Trans-Tasman season, with New Zealand stopping the travel bubble with Victoria for 72 hours from Tuesday night.

The Rebels were due to fly to Queenstown in New Zealand on Friday morning for Sunday's competition clash with the Highlanders and are now relying on flights resuming on Saturday morning.

NBL teams Melbourne United and South East Melbourne Phoenix will be temporarily relocated to Queensland.

United played Brisbane Bullets on Monday and will remain in Brisbane until they depart for Saturday's away game against the Sydney Kings.

Phoenix were due to travel to Cairns on Tuesday afternoon ahead of Saturday's clash with the Taipans.

NBL commissioner Jeremy Loeliger said depending on "how the situation develops over the next 24 hours", the Cairns-Phoenix game may yet need to be moved, along with Melbourne's home game against Cairns on May 31.

In the NRL, Melbourne Storm are interstate until early June, as are Melbourne's Super Netball teams.

The opening State of Origin rugby league clash between NSW and Queensland is due to be held at the MCG on June 9, with NRL boss Andrew Abdo saying they are closely monitoring the situation.

"If need be we'll increase the protocols and if we need to consider contingency planning for where we play State of Origin we will," Abdo said.

There are two A-League games slated for AAMI Park this weekend, however Tuesday night's FFA Cup game between Oakleigh Cannons and Preston Lions was postponed after Preston players and officials were among those required to self-isolate.

Preston played Whittlesea Ranges in their NPL3 clash at B.T. Connor Reserve in Reservoir on Friday night, which has now been listed as a tier-two exposure site.

Supercars are planning for this weekend's Winton SuperSprint to go ahead but will monitor the situation in Melbourne and follow government advice.

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