Saturday, September 18, 2021

Jeff Kennett: AFL season may have to be postponed due to Victoria’s Covid crisis

Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett has been told Victoria’s Covid crisis is weeks away from being under control and fears the AFL season may have to be postponed.

The AFL is still scrambling to reschedule three games for this weekend’s round, including the blockbuster between Brisbane and Melbourne that doesn’t yet have a venue.

The Victorian government can’t guarantee the current seven-day lockdown will end at midnight on Thursday, and further border closures could impact the AFL’s capacity to continue the season.

Melbourne and Collingwood are the only active Victorian teams this weekend yet to leave the state, with several others on a bye.

On Tuesday morning Kennett, whose Hawks played the Gold Coast Suns in Sydney last weekend, said if NSW shut its doors the season could be suspended.

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“I think we will have to wait to see if Victoria extends its lockdown and in particular if NSW locks its borders against Victorians travelling,” Kennett said on SEN Breakfast.

“If that happens, I think it is almost impossible for the AFL to be able to continue its season at the moment.

“Because we’ve been locked out of everywhere, it makes it very, very difficult.“

Kennett said he had been told the current crisis wouldn’t be over for “a number of weeks”.

“If that were the case I don’t see how the season can continue at present. I wonder whether we might be heading towards a postponement of some sort,“ he said.

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“I am sure the players and the administrations of clubs will do whatever it can to keep the season alive.

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“I think all options have got to be considered.

“I don’t think the AFL, I don’t think you and I as commentators in terms of observers of what the AFL are doing will have a better idea until the Victorian government decides whether this lockdown is going to be continued, and my great fear is that it will be.“

The clash between Melbourne and Brisbane, which was moved from Alice Springs, could be played in Sydney. A clash between St Kilda and the Swans could be in Cairns.

The AFL expects to confirm venues on Tuesday.

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