Fremantle lock in departure date for Gold Coast hub, confident teams will travel back to WA

Headshot of Catherine Healey
Catherine HealeyThe West Australian
Email Catherine Healey
Fremantle’s Stephen Hill and Captain Nat Fyfe at Perth Airport.
Camera IconFremantle’s Stephen Hill and Captain Nat Fyfe at Perth Airport. Credit: Mogens Johansen/The West Australian

Fremantle will fly out for the Gold Coast on Tuesday, confident the AFL will send teams back to WA to keep the competition alive later in the year.

Fremantle general manager Peter Bell said “discussions are ongoing” as to where the four WA and SA teams will end up after the initial four games the AFL has scheduled.

There are reports West Coast and Fremantle could be forced to relocate to Melbourne after their Gold Coast stint is up, given the WA border is likely to remain closed.

But Bell is confident the Dockers will come out of the 2020 season as a stronger, united group.

“We’ve approached the hub as first of all it’s a necessity to get the game going again. We’ll do what’s required. We’ve approached it as a really good, learning and development opportunity for our club,” Bell said on SEN.

“We feel that we can really build something during this period for years ahead.

Dockers Brennan Cox, Luke Ryan and Nathan Wilson at Perth Airport.
Camera IconDockers Brennan Cox, Luke Ryan and Nathan Wilson at Perth Airport. Credit: Mogens Johansen/The West Australian

“Everything that I’ve heard from opposition clubs and supporters is they would understand that it would be the fair and equitable thing (after the Gold Coast hub) that at some stage if things don’t change, clubs and supporters would understand some of them might have to come over to Western Australia later in the year.”

Bell said the club was concerned for its player wellbeing and said the Dockers would take 30 staff with the team to the Gold Coast.

“There is anxiety it must be said in all the players and staff, mainly around the uncertainty,” Bell confirmed.

“If you knew exactly how long you’d be in there for, then families can plan… sometimes the uncertainty creates the anxiety.

“Whether it be four or six weeks, that should just about see (the time away from WA) out.

“As to what that means for everyone else… we’ll leave that to the AFL.”

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails