Thursday, June 20, 2024

The freedom of the press still furnishes that check upon government which no constitution has ever been able to provide – Chicago Tribune.

HomeIssue 37AFL's varying COVID precautions raise questions

AFL’s varying COVID precautions raise questions


Greetings, Erwin. I attended finals of the AFL code at Traeger Park.

On the Saturday It was the grand final of the town competition between Pioneers, who lost, and Rovers.

Sunday saw the preliminary finals of the country competition. The most striking difference between the two days was the precautions on offer re the COVID-19 virus.

Firstly, prior to paying your entry money on the Saturday there were two stations of hand sanitiser for patrons use. However, on the Sunday there was no such facility available.

Attendance figures on Sunday would have been far greater than the Saturday simply because of the big number of communities involved on the day.

This resulted in much crowd movement in and out of the ground during the day.  Hence, there was greater potential of risk of infection spread.

Revenue from the Sunday fixture, entry money and kiosk takings, I’m guessing would have easily doubled that of Saturday’s.

On the Saturday I had a seat in the grandstand prior to the half-time break. I left during that break to buy a snack at the kiosk.

On return to the grandstand I was prevented by a police officer to resume a seat. His explanation was that due to social distancing rules the grandstand was full. Fair enough.

Several police were on duty in the stand plus security people. Come Sunday it was a completely different story.

I sighted just two security guards in the grandstand; no police presence. There were just as many people in the grandstand but the situation was alarmingly come-and-go as you like; no social distancing practices taking place!

I presume that the Central Australian Football League (CAFL)  had to pay for police presence on both days plus that of course of security people.

It appears to me CAFL skimped on employing extra police for their Sunday fixture.

On Saturday it was a mixed crowd of white people and people of Aboriginal origin. You could safely say that Sunday’s attendance was 99% of Aboriginal people.

I can’t understand why there was such a distinct difference taken towards the protection of people’s health, in this instance responding to COVID-19.

Graham Tjilpi Buckley, Alice Springs


  1. RedCentre NATS had awkward rules too. Advertised max of 500 on the spectator hill, well blow me down if there wasn’t 1500. Quick check on their facebook talks of lock outs and first in best dressed, was also only meant to competitors and those people who had bought early Chrome passes for $50.
    Though there was clearly whoever walked in, got in. 50% at least from interstate I would think too. Security on the gate had a counter, but I think it must have been stuck on 498.
    Just goes to show that COVID rules and their implementation isn’t restricted to one or two events.

  2. Umm … the silence is defining on this situation!
    Any comment AFL … or, as usual, are you guys beyond reproach?? Many Queenslanders might think so.
    Or NT Police?
    Or Town Council?
    Naaahhhh, let’s just ignore it and it will be forgotten and go away.
    Thanks for letting us know, GTB.
    It’s insulting that this happened. And I agree, should not have.
    Double standards are thriving and plenty in these COVID-19 days.

  3. I am unsure why so many sporting events still continue. The results of the events seem to in some cases dominate the news.
    But closer to home, you only need to drive past Araluen Park about 4.30 on any weekday to see lots of people congregated in very close proximity to each other.
    I have often seen the police drive by and ignore them. Perhaps is knock off time.
    Or perhaps is apathy that will be the culprit.

  4. Good, why should absurd limitations on our life and civil liberties be placed upon us by bureaucrats?
    I feel that in Melbourne let alone alone in Alice Springs where there is no COVID-19 (read: bad flu) within 1500kms.
    Freedom to the people. Watch your footy and enjoy.

  5. @ Interested Darwin Observer: It’s probably about uniformity understanding of sorts. If we don’t have uniformity and a clear understanding, then rules and guidelines won’t work.
    The fact that we don’t have COVID-19 in Alice yet is more good luck than good management.
    Perhaps look at the what if. If we get it here, what will it do to the town folk and businesses. If we get it here, what will it do to the Aboriginal Communities and so forth.
    The real enemy as I see it, is the lack of people’s understanding, made worse by the complex rules and guidelines.

  6. Graham’s description of the minimal COVID safeguards at the footy finals suggests that government health and police authorities have dropped the ball. Perhaps the NT government has no idea how it would handle a serious outbreak if this slack approach is any indication.
    In Melbourne, this week’s inquiry into the Victorian state government’s quarantine restrictions suggests quite clearly that the rules are being made up as they go along according to the uninformed opinions of unknown government officials.
    An obvious conclusion is that there is no real idea how to deal with COVID except by way of a draconian stage four lockdown.
    Alicians should hope and pray that a second wave does not enter the Alice community.

  7. Good on you Tjilpi for bringing this to notice via the Alice Springs News.
    Let’s hope there is a more fair dinkum effort this weekend for the country grand final.
    The ABC TV news here in Victoria showed footage from both Santa Teresa and Hermannsburg, supporters really getting into the spirit of the big game.
    It would be tragedy if poor social distancing led to outbreaks of the virus in these communities after so much good work so far in the NT.
    As for the comments of Interested Observer from Darwin, talk is cheap, I wonder what he/she would have to say if such a COVID outbreak occurred?
    Civil liberties have to be weighed up against the risk of consequences … that is why we have laws that get us to wear seatbelts, wear bike helmets, limiting semi-automatic weapons and obey strict speed restrictions near schools.
    We live on the Mornington Peninsula where we are subject to the Stage 4 lockdown.
    I notice the latest Newspoll found 62% of us were in favour of the restrictions despite very severe limitations of our freedoms: 5km travel limit, curfew at night etc.
    A recent letter to the editor of The Age pointed out that the American State of Massachusetts, similar population and degree of economic development to Victoria, has had close to 10,000 deaths, Victoria just about 800.
    The restrictions are a price most of us are willing to pay to avoid becoming a Massachusetts.
    So far the NT has been very fortunate, and done well to keep COVID out of Aboriginal communities where it is could run wild. Let’s hope that continues.


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