The West Coast Eagles have delivered something of an ultimatum on their stay in Queensland, saying they must be allowed to return to Perth after their round-five match against Richmond, if they are required to quarantine in a hotel on their arrival in WA.
- West Coast Eagles coach Adam Simpson said he wants his team to be able to quarantine at their own homes after round five
- Simpson said he needs to look after the mental health of the Eagles’ players and staff
- There has been no indication as to when WA Premier Mark McGowan will ease border restrictions in the state
The AFL is yet to release fixtures beyond round five, with Fremantle, Adelaide, Port Adelaide and the Eagles still unclear about whether they will be asked to remain in Queensland beyond that weekend.
The Western Australian sides have been in a hub on the east coast for nearly two weeks, and will be there for another three weeks according to the current fixtures.
“Our position is, if we can’t quarantine in our own houses when we get back, and [have to] stay in a hotel for another two weeks, we need to get home after Richmond [on July 2],” coach Adam Simpson said on Friday, ahead of his side’s clash with Brisbane at the Gabba.
“That’s our position, and we’re pretty strong on that.
“To play another two or three games here, and then have to go back to Perth and sit in a hotel for another two weeks … we’re not here to complain, but we have to look after our staff and players and it’s probably a bridge too far.”
“There needs to be a line in the sand at some stage, and we just haven’t been informed at the moment about return dates.”
The AFL is currently working on fixturing beyond round five, with speculation West Coast and Fremantle could be asked to play an additional two games on the east coast before returning to WA.
Simpson says that’s too big an ask.
“We’re happy to do our bit, we’re here to win, we’re really disappointed in last week, so our priority is footy, but we’ve also got to look after our players and staff and their health and wellbeing,” he said.
“If we have to play one or two extra games here and then quarantine in a hotel, that will be really difficult on our staff and players.
“If we have to quarantine [on the return to Perth] we’ll come home after Richmond.”
There has been no clarity on when WA will ease its hard border restrictions, which have been in place for three months.
Premier Mark McGowan is increasingly coming under pressure to bring down the border, as unemployment in the state becomes the highest in the country.
South Australia opened its borders to WA, Tasmania and Queensland on Thursday and will lift all restrictions from July 20.