Fremantle’s relocation to a Gold Coast hub for the resumption of the AFL season from Thursday 11 June can provide a silver lining for the team, according to general manager of football Peter Bell.
The club is set to spend at least four weeks in the hub and play at least four games at either Metricon Stadium or the Gabba.
Bell said Fremantle wouldn’t underestimate the challenges involved in spending a significant amount of time interstate but added that the club will focus on make the most of the situation.
“We are a team that’s used to travelling but this is a little bit different,” Bell said.
“We’re looking at the experience as being a positive one that will really help this group grow and develop together.
“We see it as potentially being enormously beneficial.”
While Fremantle will be away from home, they will be given the rare opportunity to play a block of games without the need to travel every other week.
“We know we will be on the Gold Coast for a block of the fixtures,” Bell said.
“We know we won’t be moving or travelling to play during that block. I think that creates opportunities.”
Along with West Coast, Fremantle will stay at Royal Pines Resort, which will give the players a chance to remain active while complying with the AFL’s strict Covid-19 protocols.
“It’s a wonderful facility on the Gold Coast, which we hope will allow us some freedom to move around within the resort,” Bell said.
“There’s the potential there that our guys will be able to use the open spaces and we’re working on a whole host of other opportunities in conjunction with the AFL and within Queensland Government laws.
“There’s tremendous scope to get settled, using high-end facilities to prepare our guys for the first block of the fixture.”
Bell said the club would take the AFL’s regulations seriously.
“We’re still working through the protocols that the AFL will put in place but we understand they will be onerous with a lot of screening and a lot of testing every week,” Bell said.
“The players will realise why this is necessary and realise that it is really important to get that social licence to come back and play football.”