Footy under threat, but Swans still want 10k at SCG
Sydney Swans are still planning for 10,000 fans at the SCG on Saturday as the future of football in NSW this season now hangs on a knife's edge.
GWS young gun Nick Shipley was on Tuesday forced into an emergency move out of his parents' house in one of the new COVID-19 hot spots in Sydney's west to seek indefinite refuge at the home of teammate Shane Mumford.
But as it stands there have been no fresh warnings given to the Swans or Giants by the AFL or the NSW Government about packing their bags, and one of the biggest sporting crowds of the year could turn out at the SCG on Saturday.
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Both Sydney clubs remain on high alert and are expecting a shift to another State could happen at any point, particularly as the NRL flag the possibility of moving its entire competition to Queensland.
Seventy seven Sydney suburbs - including Shipley's - are now on Queensland's banned list, and The Crossroads Hotel cluster has put the AFL season quite literally at a new crossroads.
But despite the return of tighter restrictions to pubs and clubs, the NSW Government is yet to wind back legislation that allows sports Stadiums to fill up to 25 per cent capacity - and Swans fans are hoping to be out in force to cheer on their depleted side.
"We'll continue to stay in close contact with the Government around that and follow their lead," said Swans chief, Tom Harley.
"We're planning to welcome 25 per cent capacity to the game on Saturday. And we'll continue to communicate that to our membership base and work through a ballot system.
"But we also need to be mindful that things can change quickly and we'll make sure we build in flexibility as required if we need to change. But certainly we're planning to expect 25 per cent capacity crowd on the weekend."
Young Giant Shipley made a quick dash across town to the relative sanctuary of Mumford's eastern suburbs bungalow on Tuesday as the threat of a COVID-19 second wave in Sydney became real for the first time.
Although according to some at GWS, Shipley might have gone from the frying pan into the fire.
"He won't stay there now. Mummy came through with the bungalow which is handy," said Giants football boss, Jason McCartney.
"Until we get more information on what the Government is saying, he'll just have those living arrangements. How long he says at Mumfords and how long he can put up with Mumford for? I probably couldn't last too long there!"
The AFL said on Tuesday no decisions have been made to move teams out of NSW, but they're monitoring the situation in Sydney's west.
It's not beyond the realms of possibility that the entire AFL competition may ultimately have to move to a State like Western Australia.
NSW's bold bid for the AFL Grand Final has suddenly been tempered, and Optus Stadium boss in Perth Mike McKenna has publicly questioned whether ANZ Stadium and Sydney sporting fans are suitable for the occasion anyway.
"It is a fantastic stadium to watch rugby union and rugby league. But having worked at Essendon when we travelled there (years ago) … I don't know if it's such a great AFL stadium," said McKenna on SEN Radio.
"What you get here having a grand final or a finals series in Perth, is passionate fans attending. And they'll attend games that involve neutral teams. I'm not sure that's always the case in other states."
Originally published as Footy under threat, but Swans still want 10k at SCG