PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JULY 16: Spectators look on during the round 7 AFL match between the Geelong Cats and the Collingwood Magpies at Optus Stadium on July 16, 2020 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JULY 16: Spectators look on during the round 7 AFL match between the Geelong Cats and the Collingwood Magpies at Optus Stadium on July 16, 2020 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

‘Huge gamble’: AFL crowd causes panic

There wasn't even a Western Australian team on show but that didn't stop 22,077 footy fans packing in to Perth's Optus Stadium last night.

Because of a COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria, Collingwood and Geelong slugged it out 2700km from home as part of a revised fixture that has seen the AFL send its Melbourne-based clubs on the road.

But not everyone in Perth was happy to have them.

A poll of almost 2000 WA nurses in the lead-up to the game found 94 per cent opposed the mass gathering, deeming it "too risky" following recent coronavirus spikes across the country.

Australian Nursing Federation Secretary Mark Olson said allowing a crowd of up to 30,000 was "clearly a risk" and his thoughts were echoed by the Australian Medical Association's WA president Dr Andrew Miller who described the event as a "huge gamble".

"What we're betting with is the health and livelihood of the whole of Western Australia," he said.

This Eagles fan had a mask on.
This Eagles fan had a mask on.

Safety measures were put in place as every second row was left empty and every toilet and food and drink stall opened to minimise queuing.

Masks were also encouraged although few were seen in the stands.

Pitch invasions were considered to be a breach of quarantine rules and result in a fine of up to $50,000, but that didn't stop one man from charging the field.

A pitch invader is tackled to the ground by security. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
A pitch invader is tackled to the ground by security. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

The match was the first played in front of fans at the ground since West Coast hosted Essendon last September.

Optus Stadium is expected to be at the full 30,000 limit when the Eagles play the Dockers in a local derby on Sunday afternoon.

Matches have also been scheduled for next weekend. The Eagles host the Magpies on Sunday, July 26, before the Dockers play the Cats the following day.

Spectators arrive by train for the match. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Spectators arrive by train for the match. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

 

 

Originally published as 'Huge gamble': AFL crowd causes panic

Ponchos won’t protect you. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Ponchos won’t protect you. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Off for two weeks of isolation. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Off for two weeks of isolation. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

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