WA lockdown causes more fixture headaches

A five-day Perth lockdown will play havoc with schedules for the city's major sporting franchises.
A five-day Perth lockdown will play havoc with schedules for the city's major sporting franchises.

Australia's major sporting codes have been forced into yet another fixture reshuffle after Western Australia was plunged into a minimum five-day lockdown.

The Perth Scorchers' hopes of hosting the BBL preliminary final next Thursday have disappeared and the Perth Wildcats' NBL clash with the New Zealand Breakers at RAC Arena next Friday has also been called off.

Instead, the Scorchers will remain in Canberra where they will play the match at Manuka Oval.

The drama came after a security guard at one of Perth's quarantine hotels tested positive to COVID-19.

WA chief health officer Andy Robertson flagged on Sunday that Perth could potentially host Thursday's BBL clash without a crowd.

But with the final against the Sydney Sixers to be held at the SCG two days later, the risk of playing in Perth during a lockdown was too great, given that other States are likely to have their border closed to WA or enforce strict quarantine measures.

Round two of the AFLW season will almost certainly need to be tweaked.

West Coast and Fremantle were originally scheduled to fly to Adelaide to take on the Giants and Crows respectively.

Both the Giants and Crows played the WA-based sides in Perth over the weekend, and were on track to fly to Adelaide just before the cut-off 6pm lockdown time on Sunday.

The AFLW has the option of having the Giants and Crows face off against each other in Adelaide in round two, and organise a western derby between West Coast and Fremantle in Perth if the WA lockdown is lifted after five days.

Perth's A-League team finished their three-game stint in Victoria when they played Melbourne City at AAMI Park on Sunday evening.

Glory are due to travel to South Australia to face Adelaide United on February 5, but their home game against Melbourne Victory on February 13 could be in doubt if WA's lockdown drags on.

Perth's W-League team faces a more immediate concern given they are scheduled to travel to Melbourne to face Melbourne City in Dandenong on Thursday and Victory in Morwell on Sunday.

If Victoria shuts its borders to WA or enforces a two-week quarantine period, the W-League will have to figure out a different plan to get the Glory out of Perth.

Fremantle's AFLW coach Trent Cooper said the bulk of his team will be willing and able to spend an extended stint outside of WA if that's what is needed.

"We've already raised the possibility, we've already spoken to the employers as well," Cooper said after Sunday's 30-point win over the Giants in Fremantle.

"We think the employers will help us wherever they can, and the girls will repay them back in spades when the time comes.

"The exact numbers of (players) who can go probably depends on how long and when it starts. But we'll deal with that on a case by case basis."

The Wildcats were recently forced into a two-week quarantine period after returning from Brisbane, and their immediate playing fixture remains up in the air.

Australian Associated Press