AFLW derby clash between West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Dockers given vaccine mandate exemption

Michael Traill, Mitchell Woodcock & Rory Campbell The West Australian
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Fans can be seen lining up outside Fremantle Oval for the AFLW Western Derby.
Camera IconFans can be seen lining up outside Fremantle Oval for the AFLW Western Derby. Credit: Matt Jelonek

The AFLW Derby clash at Fremantle Oval was handed an eleventh-hour exemption for the State Government’s new vaccination entry mandate for major events.

More than 5500 spectators flocked to the ground on Saturday evening for Fremantle’s clash with West Coast for the opening round of the 2022 AFLW season.

On Monday, newly-appointed Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson announced that proof of vaccination was required for major events with more than 500 people in attendance.

“Following the successful trial at the Perth Cup on January 1, we will now extend proof of vaccination requirements to high-risk venues and events,” she said at the time.

“These include nightclubs, music festivals and major events of more than 500 patrons where mask-wearing will also be required outdoors... the proof of vaccination requirement will be ongoing.”

A State Government spokesman on Saturday night, however, said the AFLW clash was not subjected to the rule based on advice from WA’s chief health officer.

“The proof of vaccination directions were introduced on Tuesday and put in place to ensure nightclubs, music festivals and large pubs or similar venues that were impacted by restrictions, closed or cancelled between December 23 and January 4, were able to open and operate in a safe manner,” the spokesman said.

Fans lining up outside Fremantle Oval.
Camera IconFans lining up outside Fremantle Oval. Credit: Matt Jelonek

“Under the directions, venues or events can be excluded if the type of event is deemed safe by the chief health officer. The AFLW match was a family-friendly event, with attendees seated.

“The current proof of vaccination directions are an interim measure, introduced off the back of the Delta backpacker outbreak.

“Expanded proof of vaccination requirements will be introduced as part of WA’s Safe Transition Plan.”

Fans lining up along Parry Street outside Fremantle Oval.
Camera IconFans lining up along Parry Street outside Fremantle Oval. Credit: Matt Jelonek/The West Australian

Proving vaccination status will become more prominent across WA as the State prepares to open its borders on February 5, according to the spokesman.

Fans were able to walk through Fremantle Oval’s gates without proving they had received both jabs.

“It was weird, we walked in and I had my proof of vaccination and ID ready,” Dockers fan David Winkless said.

Sisters Tilly Valentino, 13, and Summer, 10.
Camera IconSisters Tilly Valentino, 13, and Summer, 10. Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian

“I showed the guy who was scanning tickets and he wasn’t interested.

Then there was a security guard who wanted to see my tick and then off you go.

“They were just asking random people. I was expecting they’d ask to see my digital certificate and my ID. There was none of that.”

Fans get tickets checked at the gate.
Camera IconFans get tickets checked at the gate. Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian

The Fremantle Football Club told 7NEWS it had not been instructed to ask spectators for proof of vaccination at the ground’s gates.

It comes despite the club’s website telling supporters aged over 16 they would need proof they were double-dose vaccinated and show ID to attend games.

Petrina Richmond had her vaccine certificate ready to go.
Camera IconPetrina Richmond had her vaccine certificate ready to go. Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian

The WA Football Commission sought clarity on the issue on Saturday morning and were told by WA police they did not need to check for vaccination status.

David Winkless said fans were able to walk through the gates without showing proof of vaccination.
Camera IconDavid Winkless said fans were able to walk through the gates without showing proof of vaccination. Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian

Neither the State Government nor the AFL told the Fremantle Football Club they needed to check supporters’ vaccination status at the oval, 7NEWS reported.

Fremantle won Saturday’s match by 28 points.

Brayden Harris, 6, Jim Dower and Nathalia Harris, 10.
Camera IconBrayden Harris, 6, Jim Dower and Nathalia Harris, 10. Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian

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