• Staff Writers

Sports scramble to limit lockdown impact

Domestic Australian sports are grappling with the Victorian government's statewide shutdown, with the impacts from the AFL through to local community sports.

There are fears the AFL's biggest match of the season to date between top two sides the Western Bulldogs and Melbourne Demons could not go ahead.

Demons players have been forced into isolation after a Dees player visited a tier one exposure site. The game was already slated to be played behind closed doors.

The AFL has shifted Richmond's match against Adelaide on Sunday from the MCG to Sydney, most likely at Blacktown stadium.

Hawthorn will travel to Sydney to face the Gold Coast Suns, most likely at the SCG on Saturday night, moving their fixture from Darwin in the Northern Territory. The Victorian club has been granted permission to travel home on Sunday.

Carlton and Essendon departed Melbourne on Wednesday for Sydney and Perth respectively.

Essendon will travel to play the West Coast Eagles as originally scheduled.

In the NRL, Melbourne will remain at their Sunshine Coast accommodation in Queensland after Thursday night's game against Brisbane.

Other sports have also acted in response to the Melbourne outbreak with Super Netball strugglers the Melbourne Vixens travelling on Wednesday to Brisbane, two days before their due departure for their game against the Queensland Firebirds.

In basketball, the NBL rescheduled some 20 matches while the hierarchy of soccer's A-League was awaiting announcements from Victoria's government on Thursday before deciding how their competition is impacted. In the penultimate round, local Melbourne rivals Western United were due to face the Victory on Friday night. Runaway premiers Melbourne City's home match against Newcastle Jets has already been postponed, with neither sides' finals position or prospects respectively at risk.

The Supercars' Winton Supersprint, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday in northern Victoria, has been postponed from May 31 to August 1.

For regional sport, all sporting competitions have necessarily been cancelled as the only exercise permitted for Victorians over the 7-day lockdown is with 1 friend or members of your family, and no travel beyond 5 kilometres from home is permitted.

South Australia's Mallee Football League called off the home game between Murrayville Bulldogs and SA's Peake Districts, awarding both sides 1 point each in a default draw.

Late on Thursday the Kowree Naracoorte and Tatiara or 'KNT' Football Netball League declared that it would not proceed with matches scheduled for the weekend, postponing them to a later date. The Border Districts football and netball club straddles the border with alternating home grounds of Goroke in Victoria and Frances in South Australia and were due to play the Keith Crows at Keith. The Mundulla and Kybybolite clubs are also situated very close to the border.

Similarly, East Gambier in the Western Border league will have no opposition to face at Casterton who were due to host the Bulldogs on Saturday.

NSW football and netball sides Wentworth, Hay and Moulamein are amongst a number participating in cross-border leagues with Victoria that will miss action this weekend.

A group of Australia's potential Olympic swimmers have also been moved from Melbourne to avert the city's coronavirus restrictions, creating selection headaches ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

Some 27 swimmers and coaches have left Melbourne for the Gold Coast.

The swimmers, from both the Olympics and Paralympics, could remain in Queensland until the Games selection trials in Adelaide starting on June 12.

A Swimming Australia spokeswoman said the athletes were relocated on Wednesday as greater Melbourne prepares to enter the lockdown.

An Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) spokesman said any decision on relocating athletes from Melbourne was being left to authorities from respective sports.