The AFL season has lurched into another disaster after a day of criticism over border-jumping was followed with the league’s worst COVID breach to date.
As league CEO Gillon McLachlan fends off attacks about why 400 executives, families and media were allowed to fly from Victoria to Queensland this week, two Richmond players have created headlines the AFL can ill afford.
The Courier Mail exclusively revealed Sydney Stack and Callum Coleman-Jones were involved in a brawl outside a strip club on the Gold Coast on Thursday night.
Stack, 20, and Coleman-Jones, 21, were allegedly evicted from the Hollywood Showgirls gentleman’s club on the Glitter Strip’s Orchard Ave before engaging in a fight just metres from a police station.
Police were called to the incident. The AFL is aware of the alleged altercation and has launched an investigation.
Stack has played nine games for Richmond this season but hasn’t featured since a round 13 clash against Essendon in Darwin on August 22.
Coleman-Jones hasn’t played a senior game this season.
The Tigers last played against Fremantle on Wednesday night, winning by 27 points to move into the top four.
Despite not playing, both Stack and Coleman-Jones would be required to remain inside their team’s isolation bubble.
Players and coaches are forbidden from attending bars and restaurants under strict COVID-19 protocols.
Richmond — the reigning premier and favourite to win this year’s grand final — faces a hefty fine. The players will likely be suspended for the remainder of the season.
Stack missed last year’s successful finals campaign after injuring his ankle late in the season. Coleman-Jones played the one and only game of his AFL career to date in round 10 last year.
Sydney youngster Elijah Taylor was rubbed out for the rest of 2020 after sneaking his girlfriend into the Swans hub in Perth earlier this month.
Most of the AFL’s 18 clubs have broken COVID rules at least once this season.
It comes after the Queensland government’s decision to welcome 400 Melbourne-based AFL bigwigs across the border was met with fury.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was accused of double standards after a brain tumour patient’s application for quarantine exemption was rejected twice by the government, despite it welcoming the sporting officials to cross the border.
But McLachlan said footy executives, WAGs and media who flew from Victoria to Queensland are “doing this quarantine the same as everyone else”.
AFL: Tom Morris reports on the impact on preparations of the AFL transition hub.
Originally published as AFL players in brawl at strip club