About 400 AFL players and officials – including top executives – have descended on the state after the Grand Final was moved there from Melbourne.
While everyone else is locked out. WAGs and officials are in ‘hotel quarantine’ sipping cocktails while lounging by the pool at their luxury Gold Coast resorts.
The controversial quarantine arrangements drew the ire of many when compared to a mother who lost one of her twins because she couldn’t cross the border for treatment.
AFL WAGs and officials lounge by the Mercure’s pool during their hotel quarantine on the Gold Coast
But the Collingwood president defended the exemptions granted by the Queensland Government as necessary for the season to continue.
‘They are the kids of the players’ wives who have been away from their family for a couple of months now,’ he said on radio station Triple M.
‘Yesterday, I saw [Carlton star] Eddie Betts’ wife who is pregnant, with her three kids. They’re able to jump into a pool in Queensland in a lockdown area that has a giant fence around the outside.
‘I’ve never heard of an apple compared to a pineapple quite so much as trying to run up this political point scoring and politics of envy.
‘There’s no AFL officials sitting by the pool bar, they’re people here working.’
Mcguire described the strict protocols everyone must live under for the next two weeks, and even after that many restrictions remain.
‘This is a total Quarantine hub. There’s a golf course outside my window which I have to look out. You can’t go and hit the driving range,’ he said.
Birds eye video footage of the quarantine hotel showed AFL officials and WAGs make the most of the luxury Mercure resort
Eddie Mcguire has liken outrage over AFL players and staff being allowed into Queensland to ‘comparing apples and pineapples’
‘Going into this you have the full Covid test. We had another one yesterday and waiting for the results.
‘If someone tests COVID positive, the whole place goes into lockdown. The person goes into isolation.
‘We have to wear masks going anywhere near a staff member. It is absolutely policed. There was a spot check the other day, Queensland health hit the place.’
Mcguire was responding to images and video that emerged on Thursday showing officials and families chilling out the 4.5-star Mercure Gold Coast resort.
Aerial footage – published by Nine News on Thursday – showed WAGs relaxing by the swimming pool at the quarantine resort as children splashed in the water.
The wives and girlfriends soaked up the sun with drinks in hand, just a few steps away from the poolside bar.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has been criticised for easing her strict border controls to welcome the officials and their loved ones from coronavirus-riddled Victoria
Jayne Brown (pictured) was denied an exemption to self-isolate at her Sunshine Coast home
The vision is a world away from the experience of other travellers who have desperately fought to enter Queensland.
Jayne Brown, 60, spent two weeks confined to a tiny hotel room in Brisbane following her recent return from Sydney, where renowned neurosurgeon Dr Charlie Teo removed two large tumours on her brain.
The grandmother-of-seven requested an exemption from hotel quarantine to self-isolate at home on the Sunshine Coast, but was rejected twice.
She blasted Ms Palaszczuk for allowing the AFL officials to enter the state on Tuesday night.
‘I don’t understand it, mind-blowing,’ Ms Brown told Nine News.
The Queensland government has deemed all of Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT to be coronavirus hotspots.
Travellers from hotspot states who are granted a border declaration pass are required to spend 14 days in mandatory hotel quarantine, at their own cost.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg accused the Queensland government of double standards.
Pictured: Members of the AFL quarantine hub lounge by the pool of their hotel
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan flew to the Gold Coast on Tuesday ahead of the code’s announcement the Gabba in Brisbane will host the grand final
Mr Frydenberg said the football hub showed two sets of rules on borders given regular punters had missed out on vital medical treatment.
‘It’s just not on that a young woman can lose an unborn child because of confusion at the borders,’ he told the Nine Network on Thursday.
‘At the same time, footy officials can go down to their hotel bar as they so-called quarantine in Queensland.
‘It seems double standards on our borders.’
Mr McLachlan refused to be drawn into a war of words.
‘The borders between the federal government and the states is a big issue and I’m not going to wade into that, other than to say I empathise with every situation,’ he told 3AW.
McLachlan arrives for a press conference from the Queensland quarantine hub on Wednesday to announce the 2020 AFL Grand Final will be played at the Gabba
He hoped people would understand the arrangements were keeping people in jobs.
‘With respect to the borders and the individual circumstances – great empathy. With respect to the politics – not for me.’
The CEO flew to the Gold Coast on Tuesday ahead of the code’s announcement Brisbane will host the grand final.
AFL officials and their families still need to undergo hotel quarantine after flying into the state.
But they are free to leave their room and use the pool and bar amenities, unlike other quarantine guests solely confined to their rooms.
The Sunshine State will host the 2020 Grand Final on October 24 at the Gabba in Brisbane following a deadly coronavirus outbreak in Victoria.