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Fremantle chief executive Simon Garlick says Dockers will plan for extended trip to Gold Coast

Fremantle chief executive Simon Garlick said the Dockers would prepare for the possibility their stay on the Gold Coast is extended after agreeing to a fixture swap with Brisbane.

Fremantle will fly a squad of 30 or so players on a charter flight to the Gold Coast today, where they will be based until jetting down to Melbourne two days before their round 9 clash with Essendon.

This weekend’s Brisbane Gabba clash will take place at 4.40pm local time – the same 2.40pm WA timeslot originally scheduled for the now-moved Optus Stadium fixture.

The Lions will now head west in round 21 with the potential for another fan lockout this weekend one of the main sticking points in the fixture swap.

With WA recording three days of no community transmission since the latest hotel quarantine outbreak, Garlick was optimistic Fremantle would be able to return to Perth as planned after playing Essendon.


But the Dockers have also planned for an extended stay over east in case Perth’s COVID situation worsens.

“We need to plan for the worst and hope for the best,” Garlick said.

“It’s a balancing act to make sure we get it right. We might be able to send players back or bring players over if things continue.

“They (discussions) would be had in earnest if there was a change of status here in WA.

“Fingers crossed it all continues to track in a positive direction and we can come home on Sunday but it is a real thing we have to consider.

The Dockers will pack to be over east beyond their round nine clash against Essendon.
Camera IconThe Dockers will pack to be over east beyond their round nine clash against Essendon. Credit: Ross Swanborough/The West Australian

“The strong preference and plan is that it will be for the next two games but we’ll make some allowances from a personnel and equipment perspective and underwear, to make sure you have enough to cover you.

“We come back to play Sydney the following week and that’s where we’re focusing our energy. The hypotheticals can send you around the loop a little bit.

“It was a pretty logical step for us to take although our preference was to stay here and play this week.”

Fremantle will be uninhibited by COVID restrictions once they arrive in Queensland and won’t have to wear masks.

The Dockers will stay at the Mercure Hotel which was used as part of the AFL hubs last season.

Fremantle chief executive Simon Garlick spoke to the media today.
Camera IconFremantle chief executive Simon Garlick spoke to the media today. Credit: Daniel Wilkins/The West Australian

Fremantle officials were spotted packing a truck bound for the Gold Coast at the club’s Cockburn headquarters this morning.

Staff from the club lugged boxes of Powerade, Gatorade and aqualyte into the truck, along with massage tables, a suitcase full of player GPS devices and weights.

Nurses were also seen carrying bags full of player COVID test swabs as one final precaution ahead of their arrival into Queensland.

Garlick said the entire playing group was on board with the extended road trip after spending months on the Gold Coast last season.

“We took a significant amount of positives out of the hubs we had last year,” he said.

“We’re the fifth-youngest list in the competition so we don’t as many guys with family concerns as other clubs would have.

“Once the football department and the playing group get their heads around it, there will be a fair bit of excitement and anticipation we take on this trip.”

It is understood that the AFL still considers it premature to rule on shifting West Coast’s scheduled round nine clash with Adelaide from Optus Stadium to Adelaide Oval.

It might be possible to reverse the home/away games between the Eagles and crows this year as the Dockers have done with the Brisbane game but at this stage West Coast are still scheduled to return to Perth after Sunday’s clash with Hawthorn in Melbourne.

West Coast chief executive Trevor Nisbett said the club’s travel plans for the Hawthorn game were unlikely to change.

“Currently we are due to fly over Friday, play the Hawks Sunday and fly back Sunday night.”

He said where the round nine clash against the Crows would be played would depend on what happened over the next week.

“We will make a decision early next week based on what happens over the next six or seven days.”

“We have been tested this morning. We will be tested again before we leave and when we arrive (in Melbourne). And that is the whole travelling party. We are up to speed with what we need to do and we will be isolated when we are in Melbourne. It will be get over there, play the game and then get home.”

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