THE AFL has moved Thursday night’s standalone Brisbane-Collingwood blockbuster from the Gabba to Marvel Stadium as a result of Brisbane’s COVID-19 outbreak.
The decision comes after the Queensland government announced a three-day lockdown for the greater Brisbane area, starting at 5pm AEST on Monday.
In a straight swap, the previously-scheduled round 22 meeting between the Lions at Magpies at Marvel Stadium will now be played at the Gabba.
“In the interest of the health and safety of both clubs and the wider community we have made the decision to move the match to Marvel Stadium,” AFL fixtures boss Travis Auld said.
“Marvel Stadium was the scheduled venue for the return match between these two clubs later in the season, which made the decision to switch the venues as per the fixture the appropriate choice.
“As we continue to navigate the ongoing pandemic, we are constantly ensuring we have the contingencies in place to best combat any challenges that are presented.
“On behalf of the AFL, I would like to thank both clubs for their patience and understanding of the evolving situation.”
The Lions have been in limbo since last Friday night’s defeat to Geelong, ordered to stay in Victoria because of the COVID-19 outbreak in Brisbane.
They trained at Port Melbourne on Monday morning and will now stay in Melbourne for at least another four nights.
Extra players will have to fly down from Brisbane for the Collingwood clash.
Ruckman Oscar McInerney needs to be replaced after injuring an ankle against the Cats, and there may be further changes to Chris Fagan’s team after two straight losses to start the season.
Brisbane is scheduled to meet the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium in round four (April 10) and could conceivably stay in Melbourne until then if the situation in their home city worsens.
(C) AAP 2021