Melbourne Demons player Max Gawn boards a plane on Monday, with the club relocating to Twin Waters on the Sunshine Coast.
Melbourne Demons player Max Gawn boards a plane on Monday, with the club relocating to Twin Waters on the Sunshine Coast.

More AFL clubs set up base on Coast to escape virus

The Sunshine Coast continues to grow as a sporting hub for elite teams escaping COVID-19 with two more AFL clubs arriving on Monday for an indefinite stay.

Both the North Melbourne Kangaroos and Melbourne Demons arrived at Twin Waters on Monday and will call the region home for the coming weeks.

Melbourne Storm are already calling Twin Waters home with the St Kilda Football Club setting up base at RACV Noosa Resort two weeks ago.

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AFL Queensland CEO Dean Warren confirmed the news and said both teams would use the Maroochydore Multisport Complex to train.

The Demons arrived mid-morning from Sydney while the Roos, who had been in quarantine on the Gold Coast, arrived late on Monday afternoon.

"I think it's terrific for our game," he said.

"Obviously, with not only the clubs on the Sunshine Coast but also clubs on the Gold Coast it's really great from a Queensland perspective around visibility and relevance and the exposure for our game."

Jy Simpkin in action at North Melbourne training on Friday. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Photos
Jy Simpkin in action at North Melbourne training on Friday. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Photos

With the Demons travelling from Sydney and North Melbourne having already been on the Gold Coast for a number of weeks, Warren said the two clubs would not need to go into quarantine upon arrival in the region.

"All clubs are out of quarantine now but obviously still working under strict AFL protocols whilst they're here as well," he said.

With the ever evolving COVID-19 situation, he was unsure how long clubs would be based in the region.

"It's to be determined at the moment, clearly things are moving pretty quickly and things can change quire regularly," he said.

"Obviously, the fixtures are locked in until Round 8 and then hopefully once the further rounds will get released we will have a bit more clarity then."

He said the region's facilities, especially the Fisherman's Rd complex, were perfect for hosting elite squads.

Two AFL clubs to set up a Sunshine Coast hub

"Maroochydore Multisport complex on Fisherman's road is phenomenal and to have three grounds there and a fourth being built as well is a great hub for this type of activity, I know we're super appreciative of Sunshine Coast Council for their investment in not only that facility but other facilities across the Sunshine Coast," he said.

"It does allow us to bring AFL clubs here and certainly the council do a very good job every pre-season where they have number of clubs come up every year for their pre-season camps.

"I know Melbourne were up here for quite a while during their pre-season so its probably like a second home for them and I'm sure they'll be very comfortable here."  

With three AFL clubs and an NRL team here, the region is growing into a base for elite sport and even more top level clubs are poised to arrive in coming weeks.

In an announcement on Sunday, all non-Queensland Suncorp Super Netball teams will relocate to the southeast of Queensland for part or all of the season to avoid COVID-19 concerns in Victoria and parts of NSW.

It's still unclear which teams will call the Coast home, but it's highly likely there will be more than just the Lightning training and playing in the region.  


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