COVID is wreaking havoc ahead of Sunday’s AFL Western Derby between West Coast and Fremantle, with Dockers coach Justin Longmuir to miss the match after being forced into isolation.
- Longmuir has been identified as a close COVID-19 contact
- Fremantle says the case is not closely connected to the club
- It is not yet known how depleted West Coast’s line-up will be for the Derby
The AFL has extended the deadline for both clubs to name their teams until Saturday afternoon, as the Eagles deal with a host of players affected by the virus.
West Coast fielded a severely depleted team in its loss to North Melbourne last weekend, including a number of top-up players from the WAFL, after many of its regulars caught coronavirus.
Eagles’ Derby line up a mystery
The AFL says it is working closely with West Coast as it navigates the challenges of COVID.
The make-up of the Eagles team for the Derby is very much a mystery, with numerous players coming out of quarantine but still needing to prove they are fit to line up.
Fremantle coach Longmuir has been forced into the “AFL’s health protocols”, with a Dockers statement saying he is a close contact of a positive case not directly connected to the club.
“Our first priority at this stage is the health and wellbeing of Justin and his family,” Fremantle football manager Peter Bell said.
“We will provide all the necessary support that Justin and his family require.”
Just hours before Longmuir’s quarantine was confirmed, he had spoken of his confidence the club would not be badly affected by the virus this week, despite the deadline for the naming of teams being extended.
“From what I understand we got notified that it’d be the case from the AFL, it hasn’t been something that we’ve sought extra time for, so from our end it hasn’t been led by us,” Longmuir said.
Former West Coast player and assistant coach Jaymie Graham will take charge of the Dockers against his old club.
Fremantle said all players and football staff returned negative COVID test results today.
Source: AFL NEWS ABC