Negative Covid tests allowed the Western Bulldogs to resume preparation for Friday’s blockbuster with Melbourne

The Western Bulldogs are out of isolation and were set to resume training on Wednesday morning after a Covid scare demanded players and staff be tested.

Training was cancelled on Tuesday and players and staff were tested after being notified on Monday night that a staff member had been to an exposure site following the latest outbreak in Melbourne’s north and west.

Those tests all came back negative, and the Dogs were free to conduct their main session ahead of Friday’s blockbuster showdown with Melbourne at Marvel Stadium.

But the clock is ticking on whether crowds, capped or otherwise, will be able to attend the game with a ruling to be determined by the AFL based on health advice as soon as Wednesday.

Confirmation of a person who has tested positive to Covid having attended last Sunday’s clash at the MCG between Collingwood and Port Adelaide has cast a further dark cloud over this weekend’s games in Melbourne.

Essendon left for Perth on Wednesday, a day early for this weekend’s clash with West Coast, while Carlton also left on Wednesday morning for Sunday’s clash with the Swans in Sydney to avoid any further travel complications.

In a statement this morning, the AFL said the MCG was undergoing deep cleaning and the league was prepared for this situation.

“Each plan has specific measures in place to reduce any potential risk, including the sectioning of grounds to limit patron movement and implementation of both ticketing data capture and QR code scans for efficient contact tracing purposes,” the statement said.

“The AFL and the MCC have prepared for this situation in multiple simulations, with contact information linked to ticketing data and QR codes.

“The MCG has advised that extensive cleaning of the venue takes place after each match and, out of an abundance of caution, a deep clean of the identified zone is now being undertaken.

“We remind all fans attending this week’s round of matches to ensure they scan the QR code in stadiums to further assist with the ongoing management of the pandemic.”

Western Bulldogs players, football department staff and match-day staff have all received coronavirus tests today and are currently isolating until they receive a negative result.

The policy on closing the Marvel Stadium roof could have a significant impact on the number of spectators at the contest between the Dogs and Demons.

It is understood the league might have to decide between 85 per cent crowds at Marvel Stadium with the roof open or only 50 per cent capacity if it keeps the roof closed.

The league’s biggest concern is the trickle-down effect of the nine new Covid cases in Melbourne and how it will affect the Round 11 fixture.

There could yet be further impacts after an AFL Covid planning day Tuesday worked through multiple scenarios.

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