The Perth Wildcats will escape Western Australia’s COVID-19 lockdown by flying to Sydney today in an effort to keep the NBL season alive.
The side will remain in New South Wales as they wait for an exemption to travel to Victoria in preparation of league’s scheduled ‘NBL Cup’ which sees all games in the same state for an entire month.
“Like we have had to do with other teams, the Wildcats will temporarily relocate so they can continue to train and play. This follows the announcement of a five day lockdown in Western Australia,” NBL commissioner,” Jeremy Loeliger explained.
“We thank all of the Perth players, coaches and staff for their support in what is obviously a challenging time for everyone.
“All of our clubs have shown tremendous professionalism and a determination to make this season happen despite the ongoing challenges and we will continue to do everything we can to support them.”
Meantime, South East Melbourne Phoenix players, coaches and staff are in self isolation in Victoria and have been tested for COVID-19 after spending last week living in Perth.
The NBL club played matches against the Perth Wildcats on January 24 and 29 and based themselves in the city for the duration of their stay.
Under NBL protocols, they were required to remain inside their hotel from 72 hours before each game, but had the freedom to move around on January 25 and 26. The club says the players still chose to remain at the hotel and hadn’t visited any of the hotspots.
The Phoenix flew home to Victoria on Saturday and had an extended lay over at Adelaide airport after being unable to book a direct flight.
They then travelled to Bendigo in regional Victoria and played Melbourne United.
Perth Wildcats players and staff are on standby this morning waiting for news of whether they can re-locate.
The Wildcats are scheduled to play Melbourne United on Sunday but will require a Victorian government exemption to enter the state.
Perth’s home game against New Zealand on Friday has already been cancelled.