“The four games that were pencilled in for Melbourne in August 2020 have now got pencil holds in NSW venues,” A-League boss Greg O’Rourke said on Monday afternoon.
“Queensland team Brisbane Roar will now be required to enter the NSW hub prior to their second game on July 28. Their first game in Queensland is against Adelaide United.
“Fifty per cent of our games do not involve Melbourne-based teams. The finals series [in late August] remains as scheduled and we have a watching brief.”
When FFA chiefs announced that the A-League was kicking off again in mid-July it was thought that playing a match between two clubs from the same city would give the relaunch a high profile start, especially as conditions – back then – seemed to be improving to the extent that the mooted hub in NSW would not be needed, as the virus was being brought under control.
It was even hoped that crowds could be present.
Now all that seems to be up in the air.
McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle, Jubilee Stadium in Kogarah and Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta are the grounds earmarked to host games in NSW.
All the Melbourne teams have been back in training for a couple of weeks now and are ready to play where and when they are given the go ahead.
They had hoped to have supporters at matches, but are resigned to the fact that might not now be possible even if games do go ahead as scheduled at AAMI Park.
Melbourne City’s Uruguayan import Adrian Luna is back in the country and is currently undergoing quarantine, training at home in isolation on a programme given to him by the club.
He is expected to be ready to play some part in the team’s opening game of the restart, tentatively scheduled for July 20.
Michael Lynch is The Age’s chief soccer reporter and also reports on motor sport and horseracing