Virus concern may limit WA derby AFL crowd

COVID-19 concerns could lead to limited crowds for AFL's western derby at Optus Stadium on July 19.
COVID-19 concerns could lead to limited crowds for AFL's western derby at Optus Stadium on July 19.

Hopes of a sellout 60,000 crowd for the July 19 western derby is under threat after Western Australia's state government announced it is considering delaying the relaxation in COVID-19 restrictions.

WA was set to enter phase five on July 18, meaning crowds at Optus Stadium could go from 30,000 to a full sellout.

But a second-wave of coronavirus cases in Victoria has spooked state officials, who are now contemplating whether to delay the loosening of restrictions.

That would have a big ramification for the blockbuster clash between arch-rivals West Coast and Fremantle.

"We always said with phase five that we would continually review that based upon health advice and that review is currently ongoing," WA premier Mark McGowan said.

"We will make a final decision on that over the course of the current week - whether or not we go to phase five on July 18 or whether or not we delay that beyond that date.

"That may have consequences for the AFL.

"But frankly, health comes first. AFL comes a distant second, and we'll do the right thing by the people of this state."

McGowan added that any Victorian teams who have quarantined in Queensland would have to repeat the process when they get to WA.

"If football wants to have their season, they need to abide by the rules," he said.

"The rules are here to protect us all, and they're not exempt.

"If there are complaints that they can't bring family members or their dogs or their girlfriends or wives, or whatever it might be, well then they just need to roll with it.

"A lot of people in the broader community are rolling with extreme circumstances.

"People are putting up with a lot at the moment, football players can put up with a bit as well."

Australian Associated Press