West Coast and Fremantle players from interstate are preparing to be locked in WA for the off-season, fearing that if they go home to see their families they won’t be allowed back in to begin pre-season training.
There is no restriction on the players returning to their home states, but under WA’s current COVID-19 border rules they will not be allowed back in unless the trip was cleared under compassionate grounds.
The restrictions affect a large number of players including Doig Medal winner Luke Ryan and fellow Dockers young guns Caleb Serong, Hayden Young, Andrew Brayshaw and Adam Cerra.
At the Eagles, Andrew Gaff, Shannon Hurn, Liam Duggan, Tom Cole, Jackson Nelson, Jack Petruccelle, Xavier O’Neill, Bailey Williams and Jarrod Brander are among those affected.
West Coast football operations manager Craig Vozzo, who is from Adelaide, was hopeful the rules would change to allow players and staff to see family before training resumed.
First-to-fourth year players will return to training on December 7 for a two-week block before Christmas, with other players beginning on January 6.
“All of our staff and our players with interstate families, including me actually, we’re not able to get back into the State unless we’ve left for compassionate grounds under the current regulations,” Vozzo told ABC radio.
“Which is difficult and probably disappointing for a lot of our guys. Because getting back to family for at least a short period of time in the off-season is always pretty important for all of us.
“They’re the laws though and we have to abide by them at the moment. Hopefully they change up shortly.”
Ryan, whose family live in Melbourne, was planning to spend his whole summer in Perth.
“The way I look at it is there’s worse-off people out there. So I’ll keep positive,” Ryan said.
“I think it will be a FaceTime Christmas and spend it with my dog. It’s going to be very strange.”
Fremantle’s large contingent of interstate products also includes fellow Victorians Matt Taberner, Darcy Tucker, Sean Darcy, Brett Bewley, Lachie Schultz, Mitch Crowden, Taylin Duman, South Australians Brennan Cox, Luke Valente, James Aish and Michael Frederick and Tasmanian Alex Pearce.