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Lions preparing for early NSW exit

The Brisbane Lions are bracing themselves to leave NSW straight after Saturday’s match against GWS Giants rather than serve the remainder of a quarantine period in Sydney until Friday week.

In the Round 8 draw released by the AFL on Monday night, the Lions are scheduled to play Melbourne at Gold Coast venue Metricon Stadium on Sunday week.

Currently based in Sydney, the Lions meet GWS at Giants Stadium at 1.45pm on Saturday.

It will be their second successive match in the NSW capital, having been beaten by Geelong last Thursday night at the SCG.

Because they played against Victorian opposition in the Cats, the Lions have to serve a two-week quarantine period before being permitted to move freely in Queensland.

Lions star Lachie Neale (left) bursts away during Brisbane’s loss to Geelong at the SCG. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
media_cameraLions star Lachie Neale (left) bursts away during Brisbane’s loss to Geelong at the SCG. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

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The most likely scenario remains for them to serve their entire quarantine time in Sydney before returning home on Friday week, two days before their meeting with the Demons.

However, with a second wave of COVID-19 feared for NSW, the Lions have been told by the AFL they might be forced to leave Sydney immediately after their meeting with the Giants.

While the Lions players would be able to train in Brisbane next week while in quarantine should they return home, their wives, partners and children would be unable to attend work and school, having come into contact with team members.

The AFL and the NSW Government have been in talks with how best to deal with the situation, with the Lions being kept abreast of the evolving situation.

It’s understood the Lions would prefer to spend next week in Sydney training before returning on the Friday.

However, they are at the mercy of COVID-19, the AFL and the NSW Government.

The Lions’ Sydney hotel and training venues are not located in the “coronavirus hot-spot” suburbs whose residents are now barred from freely crossing the NSW-Queensland border.

The Lions and the Demons are sharing the same hotel on Sydney’s northern beaches, with the Melbourne club having also moved to the NSW hub last week.

“I’m not sure when we even fly back to Queensland yet but I dare say we’ll be doing a little bit of our preparation in the same hotel, which is pretty funny,” said Lions star Lachie Neale, who also admitted he had not dwelled on COVID-19 cases rising in NSW.

“I haven’t thought about it too much. Guys like (football general manager) David Noble and (CEO) Greg Swann would be all over that stuff.

“I’m happy to stay here if that’s what needs be, but I’ll also be happy go home as well, so I’m just going with the flow at the moment trying to prepare for each game as a I (normally) would.

“As we know with the condensed season and the ladder’s so tight at the moment as well, it’s going to be a really tight finals race so every game’s super important.”

Originally published as Lions preparing for early NSW exit

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