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No new COVID-19 cases for Queensland: Palaszczuk


Queensland is one step closer to a return to normality after the state confirmed another day of no new coronavirus cases caused by community transmission, the eighth day in a row.

One new case has been recorded in the state but premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed it was a returned overseas traveller in hotel quarantine.

Last week, the Chief Health Officer said the potential easing of restrictions, including those on aged care homes in the state’s southeast, would depend on a COVID-19 free weekend.

There are only 11 active cases in Queensland and four people remain in hospital.

It comes two weeks since three women returned from Melbourne, allegedly without disclosing their full travel history to authorities. Two of the women contracted the virus and continued to work and socialise throughout Brisbane’s southside, infecting three people and sparking fears of community transmission.

Since July 29, more than 150,000 COVID-19 tests have been carried out across Queensland.

It comes after Queensland slammed its borders shut to NSW and ACT at 1am on Saturday morning.

The state’s deputy commissioner Steve Gollschewski said 512 people had been refused entry since the new border conditions.

“Since 1am on Saturday morning, we’ve seen 99 flights come into the state, processed 4532 people, placed 197 in quarantine and refused entry to six people,” he said.

“At our road borders, we checked 9046 vehicles, placed 144 people in quarantine and refused entry to 506 people.”

Dr Jeannette Young said the fact Queensland had avoided a community outbreak of the virus would mean aged care homes can reopen from midday on Monday.

“We still need to be cautious, these facilities have the most vulnerable people in our society, but we can go ahead,” she said.

“The one facility we can’t yet open is that one in Pinjarra Hills, we need another day and a half until we have confirmation that potential outbreak is over.

“That’s really good news.”

Dr Young thanked the huge number of Queenslanders who came forward to get tested.



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Parramatta beats Cronulla 14-12, Gold Coast claims Queensland NRL honours with win over Cowboys


NRL premiership contender Parramatta has scrapped home to beat Cronulla 14-12 in an absorbing encounter played in atrocious conditions at a waterlogged Kogarah Oval.

In Sunday’s earlier match, the Gold Coast Titans became Queensland’s top-ranked team after a 30-10 win over the Cowboys in Robina.

At Kogarah Oval, players were sliding everywhere and the ball often stopped dead in on-field water puddles, with the Sharks going down to the Eels despite scoring three tries to two.

Eels five-eighth Dylan Brown and Sharks counterpart Shaun Johnson both put on wet-weather masterclasses, while Mitchell Moses was also influential for the victors.

After the Eels led 12-4 early in the second half courtesy of a Brown try and try assist, Johnson almost gave the Sharks the win in a chaotic four minutes.

Having kicked for Jesse Ramien for the Sharks’ first try, he put a juggling Ronaldo Mulitalo over for their next with a cut-out ball to make it 12-8.

From the next set he kicked a 40-20 as Eels captain Clint Gutherson let the ball go out.

It put Cronulla on the attack and allowed Johnson and Will Kennedy to find Mulitalo to go back against the grain and beat three defenders to score.

But Johnson’s errant goalkicking from the sideline was to prove costly.

With scores locked at 12-all and 11 minutes to play, Braden Hamlin-Uele was penalised for hitting Reagan Campbell-Gillard off the ball and the Eels kicked clear.

Johnson then coughed up the last chance to claim the match, fumbling his own short grubber in the last minute.

Earlier, Brown had shown experience well beyond his 20 years of age.

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He got the first try of the match when he fooled the Sharks’ goal-line defence, faking left before darting over from dummy half in the 19th minute.

Brown’s superb day continued after half-time when he dummied his way to the line and offloaded for Kane Evans to score.

The win keeps Parramatta third on the ladder, while Cronulla is still eighth but two points clear of ninth.

Titans outclass struggling Cowboys

The Titans snapped a 10-match losing streak against the Cowboys in style, racing to a six-tries-to-two win in arguably their best display under coach Justin Holbrook in his first season at the club.

The win lifts the Titans above the Cowboys, into 13th place on the ladder.

With the Brisbane Broncos languishing below both clubs in 15th position after their run of 10 defeats from their past 11 matches, the Titans are now the highest placed of the Queensland teams in the competition.

It is also the first time in 10 years the Cowboys have lost six matches in a row.

The Titans were sensational in the opening 40 minutes, charging to 20-0 lead as the Cowboys imploded.

Full-back AJ Brimson, playing in his second match back from injury, scored a double as the Titans dominated possession and territory.

The Cowboys were as bad as the Titans were good in the opening period, with captain Michael Morgan having a day to forget on his return from a shoulder injury that had kept him sidelined since March.

Morgan had five missed tackles in the first half, two of which led directly to Titans tries.

He was also pinged for an escort penalty late in the half, with the Titans going on to score through Brimson from the resulting set.

In total the Cowboys had a paltry 59 per cent completion rate for the half, missing 23 tackles and making seven errors.

Two Gold Coast Titans NRL players embrace as they celebrate a try, as a North Queensland Cowboys opponent walks by.
Brian Kelly (left) is congratulated by Phillip Sami after scoring the Titans’ fifth try.(AAP: Dave Hunt)

The rout continued in the second half with Kevin Proctor producing a special play to bat back a kick that had gone over the dead-ball line for Brian Kelly to score.

After that play the Cowboys finally responded.

Kyle Feldt pounced after a horror bounce took a Morgan grubber away from Titans’ winger Phillip Sami before Justin O’Neill made it back-to-back tries for the visitors minutes later.

A threatened comeback did not materialise, as the Titans regained the upper hand with Sami wrapping up the scoring in the 69th minute.

The Cowboys only slightly improved their completion rate to 63 per cent and made a total of 14 errors.

AAP



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Gold Coast Titans take Queensland NRL honours after defeating Cowboys 30-10



The Gold Coast Titans are Queensland’s top-ranked NRL team after a 30-10 win over the Cowboys in Robina.

The Titans snapped a 10-match losing streak against the Cowboys in style, racing to a six-tries-to-two win in arguably their best display under coach Justin Holbrook in his first season at the club.

The win lifts the Titans above the Cowboys, into 13th place on the ladder.

With the Brisbane Broncos languishing below both clubs in 15th position after their run of 10 defeats from their past 11 matches, the Titans are now the highest placed of the Queensland teams in the competition.

It is also the first time in 10 years the Cowboys have lost six matches in a row.

The Titans were sensational in the opening 40 minutes, charging to 20-0 lead as the Cowboys imploded.

Full-back AJ Brimson, playing in his second match back from injury, scored a double as the Titans dominated possession and territory.

The Cowboys were as bad as the Titans were good in the opening period, with captain Michael Morgan having a day to forget on his return from a shoulder injury that had kept him sidelined since March.

Morgan had five missed tackles in the first half, two of which led directly to Titans tries.

He was also pinged for an escort penalty late in the half, with the Titans going on to score through Brimson from the resulting set.

In total the Cowboys had a paltry 59 per cent completion rate for the half, missing 23 tackles and making seven errors.

The rout continued in the second half with Kevin Proctor producing a special play to bat back a kick that had gone over the dead-ball line for Brian Kelly to score.

After that play the Cowboys finally responded.

Kyle Feldt pounced after a horror bounce took a Morgan grubber away from Titans’ winger Phillip Sami before Justin O’Neill made it back-to-back tries for the visitors minutes later.

A threatened comeback did not materialise, as the Titans regained the upper hand with Sami wrapping up the scoring in the 69th minute.

The Cowboys only slightly improved their completion rate to 63 per cent and made a total of 14 errors.

The Titans will look to build on their win next Saturday when they take on Cronulla, while the Cowboys face South Sydney in Townsville.

AAP



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Melbourne Vixens post 78-50 Super Netball win over Queensland Firebirds as Adelaide Thunderbirds down Giants



The Melbourne Vixens have shone a light on the class gap in Super Netball with a 78-50 demolition of the Queensland Firebirds in Brisbane.

So one way was the traffic after quarter-time, Vixens co-captains Kate Moloney and Liz Watson were rested for lengthy portions of the second half to refresh them for Wednesday night’s clash with the Sunshine Coast Lightning.

In Saturday’s other Super Netball encounter in Brisbane, the Adelaide Thunderbirds triumphed 59-51 over the Giants.

Against the Vixens, Romelda Aiken shot 35 goals for the Firebirds but there was little else to soothe the sting of defeat.

The injection of Tegan Philip for the Vixens in the second quarter signalled the turning point in the match, with the star goal attack finishing with 23 goals at 85 per cent accuracy.

Mwai Kumwenda also shot 23 goals for the Melburnians.

Kate Eddy, Jo Weston and Emily Mannix were the hardened gatekeepers, turning back every incursion launched by the Firebirds as the Vixens took control of the encounter in the second quarter.

Any prospect of the home team claiming their first win for the season was dashed after the Vixens ran riot in a 22-8 second term.

The first-half dominance of Moloney and Watson created an opportunity for Tayla Honey to sample some court time in the second half.

In just her second Super Netball appearance, Honey moved sharply in the attacking third in a sign she has overcome the Achilles tendon injury that ruined her 2019 season.

Thunderbirds trump Giants

The Thunderbirds’ new and old guard finally clicked to restore hope to the proud club in a morale-boosting win against the Giants.

Goal attack Jo Harten was exceptional for the Giants with 20 goals but could not do enough to disrupt the strong connections built by the Thunderbirds.

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Circle partners Lenize Potgieter (43/45) and Georgie Horjus (12/16) were the perfect targets for an Adelaide side still searching for its first finals appearance since the national league was re-engineered in 2017.

The Thunderbirds led by six goals at three-quarter time and needed to hold their nerve to keep the talented and skilful Giants at bay.

They had already been steered into a strong position by youngsters Horjus and Maisie Nankivell and by the dynamism of defensive stalwart Kate Shimmin, whose afternoon included a pair of flying intercepts and a blocked shot.

AAP/ABC



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Canberra Raiders score 14-12 NRL win over North Queensland as Sydney Roosters beat Gold Coast


Canberra has shown its class to sneak home with a 14-12 win over North Queensland in an NRL arm wrestle in Townsville.

Earlier in the afternoon, the depleted Sydney Roosters survived an almighty scare from an inspired Gold Coast Titans to escape with a vital 18-12 win at the SCG.

Up north, it was far from the Raiders’ best performance but they did enough to edge a willing Cowboys outfit, with both teams scoring two tries.

The Cowboys threw everything at their opponents but too often let themselves down with their kicking options.

Gunning for their third successive victory, the Raiders looked as if they were suffering jet lag early on after their long match-day flight to Canberra.

They were caught out just two minutes into the match when North Queensland hooker Reece Robson dashed over the line from dummy half.

The Raiders found their groove to level in the 18th minute when half-back George Williams started and finished a 70-metre try, helped by a big charge and fend by winger Nick Cotric.

A 35th-minute penalty strike by captain Jarrod Croker allowed his team to take an 8-6 lead to half-time.

Canberra prop Josh Papalii was both hero and villain within two minutes, stripping the ball but then being placed on report for a forearm to the head of the Cowboys’ teenage full-back Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow.

Cowboys skipper Jason Taumalolo steamed to the try line to put his side up but it was short-lived with the Raiders hitting back four minutes later.

England international John Bateman, playing his first match of the year after two rounds of shoulder surgery, found Curtis Scott, who fended off winger Murray Taulagi to score.

Sharpshooter Croker then showed his value, nailing the conversion from the sideline to put his side ahead again.

The final 12 minutes saw four captains’ challenges, with the Cowboys correct with both but they couldn’t find the points for a win or to take the match into golden point.

Roosters deny gutsy Titans

In an action-packed match laced with drama, the Roosters overcame their crippling injury toll to preserve their place in the top four thanks largely to the heroics of classy centre Joseph Manu.

Already missing eight players from their 2019 grand final-winning outfit and with superstar signing Sonny Bill Williams holed up in quarantine, the Roosters lost try-scoring ace Josh Morris to a calf strain before this afternoon’s kick-off.

Fortunately the back-to-back premiers had Manu, whose leaping 58th-minute try and miracle first-half try saver on Phillip Sami saved the Roosters embarrassment.

The Titans could have bagged four first-half tries but had to settle for only one after blowing two and seeing Manu pull off his incredible rescue act before the break.

Jamal Fogarty was also denied a try in just the second minute, the half-back touching down only for the bunker to rule Titans teammate Brian Kelly had passed him the ball off the ground.

A Sydney Roosters NRL player tackles a Gold Coast Titans opponent holding the ball around the chest area.
Roosters hooker Jake Friend (left) tries to bring down Gold Coast lock Jai Arrow.(AAP: Dean Lewins)

But there was no denying Anthony Don eight minutes later when the prolific winger started and finished his own 75-metre effort.

After scrambling for much of the half, somehow the Roosters went to the break with a 10-6 advantage after half-back Kyle Flanagan added two penalties to his conversion of Mitch Aubusson’s try.

The Titans were reduced to 12 men for a second time in the match when Keegan Hipgrave was sin-binned for taking out Lindsay Collins.

The Roosters’ claims for a penalty try were denied but Flanagan’s two points made it 12-6 before Manu soared high to reel in Luke Keary’s cross-field bomb.

That appeared to seal the deal before Sami crossed with five minutes remaining to give Roosters fans a tense finish.

AAP/ABC



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Sunshine Coast Lightning open Super Netball season with 66-48 win over Queensland Firebirds



Super Netball’s controversial super shot has delivered on its crowd-pleasing potential, as Sunshine Coast Lightning launched the 2020 season with a 66-48 win against Queensland Firebirds in Brisbane.

The Lightning’s win was followed by West Coast Fever’s 74-62 triumph against Adelaide Thunderbirds, with Jhaniele Fowler sinking 53 goals for the victors to complete the double-header.

The brave Firebirds were overpowered in the last quarter of the local derby by the Lightning’s more experienced and stronger bodies in a revealing opening clash of the coronavirus pandemic-delayed 2020 season.

Sunshine Coast trailed by as much as nine goals in the first half but — in internationals Laura Langman, Stephanie Wood and Karla Pretorius — the Lightning had too much class in the fourth term.

Kylee Byrne held her nerve in her first game as the club’s head coach, thanks largely to a big finish from Wood, who shot 10-from-11 super shots in her 14-goal haul.

Despite some early promise, Firebirds shooters Romelda Aiken (26/33) and Tippah Dwan (11/17) were unable to provide the impact their team needed in the second half.

Firebirds youngster Dwan, who was promoted to the squad this season in the absence of pregnant sharpshooter Gretel Bueta, became the first player to capitalise on the super shot.

The new rule rewards the shooter with two points from goals scored in the outer half of the shooting circle in the last five minutes of each quarter.

The Firebirds goal attack sank two super shots for the first quarter to hand last year’s wooden spooners a surprise eight-goal quarter-time lead over the two-time champions.

Strategically, the Power Five period has already become a major game changer, with both coaches using the closing stretch of each quarter to inject long-range specialists.

Just as Dwan ripped open the first quarter, Wood shot five-from-five super shots to single-handedly drag her side back into the contest.

Fever open season with a bang

Fowler did most of the damage of her 53 goals from close range, barely needing the assistance of the super shot as the Fever crushed the Thunderbirds.

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Until Wednesday morning, the Perth-based Fever were preparing themselves for a season-opening showdown with the Giants in Sydney.

But games in New South Wales were rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the Fever instead packing their bags for a Queensland assignment.

Fever goal shooter Fowler was the dominant figure in the first half. Her anticipated duel with Jamaican teammate, Adelaide’s Shamera Sterling, was not the gripping battle the Thunderbirds had hoped for.

It was no shame Sterling was unable to tame the 198-centimetre shooter, whose strength and body positioning made her almost impossible to stop near the post.

The new-look Thunderbirds, driven in the centre by Maisie Nankivell, pressured their opponents in the third quarter and stayed in touch thanks to a trio of super shots from Samantha Gooden.

Despite at times fielding five internationals on the court, the Thunderbirds could not stay with the West Australians.

AAP/ABC



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Peter V’landys seeks assurances for NRL teams over Queensland border closures, AFL teams fly north


The NRL wants the Queensland Government to confirm that its New South Wales-based clubs will still be exempted from the latest border closures.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced that the state will close its borders to all residents of Greater Sydney from 1:00am on Saturday.

While the league has previously been exempted from restrictions on previous COVID-19 hotspots, it must re-apply each time Queensland tightens its measures.

Earlier in the season, Melbourne Storm relocated from Victoria to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast due to border restrictions between Victoria and the rest of the country.

Canterbury’s trip to the Sunshine Coast next weekend in round 13 would be the first game under threat.

The NRL previously had to force players back into a tight bubble on both sides of the Tweed River given the threat of a second wave of coronavirus.

ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys insisted that for that reason, the new measures imposed by Queensland should not be an issue.

“The latest advisory from the Queensland Government doesn’t affect us at all – the competition will go ahead as per normal,” V’landys told News Corp.

“We’ve had no further conversations with the Queensland Government, they have already given us a letter asking us to reinstall our strict COVID protocols, which we have done.”

The New Zealand Warriors have been based in New South Wales since the season resumed.

Meanwhile Sydney’s two AFL teams, GWS Giants and Sydney Swans, will accelerate their plans to leave New South Wales.

An AFL player grasps the ball in one hand as he runs forward, while an opponent tries to tackle him.
The Giants and Swans were set to leave Sydney this weekend for three weeks, but may now be forced out for longer.(AAP: Paul Miller)

GWS, who face Gold Coast on Sunday, will now fly out on Thursday afternoon.

The Giants and Sydney were already both playing their next two games in Queensland before heading to a hub in Western Australia, but the border closure means they won’t be able to return home after round nine.

Super Rugby AU will also be impacted, with two teams, Western Force and NSW Waratahs, both based in Sydney.

The Waratahs are set to host the Rebels at Leichhardt Oval on Friday.

The Melbourne Rebels and ACT Brumbies, who take on the Queensland Reds on Saturday, are based in Canberra.

Super Netball already made the decision to base all its teams in Queensland earlier this month. Its season starts this weekend.

ABC/AAP



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Gladys Berejiklian blindsided by Queensland border ban


NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian received no prior notice that Queensland would close its borders to all Sydneysiders, it has been confirmed.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced Wednesday morning the state would ban all people from Greater Sydney.

The ban kicks in from 1am on Saturday after the sunshine state declared the whole city as a hotspot.

When reporters asked if she was disappointed about Ms Palaszczuk’s decision, Ms Berejiklian replied: “It would have been nice if she told me”.

“The economic consequences of this (decision) in Queensland or South Australia will hurt much more than it hurts NSW,” the NSW Premier added.

After hearing of two more cases in Queensland with two young women diagnosed with the virus after visiting Melbourne and Sydney and not declaring it, Ms Palaszczuk said on Wednesday: “I am absolutely furious that these two people have gone to Victoria, come back and given authorities misleading information”.

“There will be a thorough police investigation here but now we have to act as a community and any areas the chief health officer says need to be closed, will be closed.”

Ms Palaszczuk said the next 48 hours were critical.

“That is because we need to be making sure that any of those people who may have come into contact with the two confirmed cases need to go into quarantine and also need to be tested,” she said.

“We are acting very swiftly here, fever clinics are being set up.”

But she said people needed to be honest about where they had travelled.

From Saturday at 1am, no one travelling from Greater Sydney will be allowed into Queensland.

Queensland residents attempting to return after this date will be made to isolate in mandated hotel quarantine for 14 days, at their own expense.

Ms Palaszczuk said while she knew it would inconvenience families, it had to be done.

“We are in extraordinary times at the moment and we have to do everything we can,” she said.

When asked what it would take for Queensland to reinstate a hard border closure with NSW, Ms Palaszczuk said it would be further outbreaks of community transmission outside of Greater Sydney.

The premier indicated it would be a matter of when, not if.

“We are monitoring the situation in NSW every day,” she said.

“When the chief health officer advises the Queensland Government, advises myself, to close the border, we will close the border.”

Ms Palaszczuk also denied the decision to lockdown aged care homes south of Brisbane for the next two days was an over-reaction.

“That is the right thing to do,” she said.

More to come



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Two new COVID cases in Queensland


Two young women have been diagnosed with coronavirus in Queensland, Health Minister Steven Miles announced today.

One is believed to be a worker at the Parklands Christian College at Park Ridge. A criminal investigation will be launched because the two operated dishonestly on arrival.

Mr Miles reported they were two 19-year-old females who had travelled to Melbourne together via Sydney and returned on July 21 on flights VA563 and VA977.

One is from Acacia Ridge one from Logan, in Brisbane’s southern suburbs.

Queensland Health were in the process of setting up rapid testing stations throughout southern Brisbane and those who had any concerns were encouraged to get tested.

“These young women have gone about their business in the communities they live in – so there will be a large amount of contact tracing to be done – largely within in the Logan and Springfield areas.”

Mr Miles said, the women had visited shopping centres, a restaurant and a church in the area and Queensland Health contact tracers were investigating these leads.

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said these young women’s behaviour would inconvenience many people throughout the community, as the facilities they had visited would be closed until deep cleaning and contact tracing had been finalised.

Dr Young also announced that all aged-care facilities in Queensland’s metro south area would once again be closed to visitors as an additional precaution.

“We need to act fast, these young women have been out in the community for eight days unwell,” Dr Young said.

“If you have any concerns get your self tested as soon as possible and if you’re unwell stay at home.”

Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said the circumstances of the young women’s re-entry into Queensland from Melbourne was an ongoing criminal investigation.

“Initial investigations indicate there were incorrect details on border declaration passes,” Mr

Gollschewski said.

“This highlights why you need to declare if you’ve been to Victoria where there’s been a high instance of community transmission.

“You need to think about those around you – not just yourself.”



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ABC Grandstand team to call 2020 AFL season games in Queensland from a boardroom in Melbourne


It is a Friday night in Melbourne. Outside the city is dark and the streets are almost deserted, bar a few cars and mask-wearing pedestrians.

The Grandstand team is getting ready to call the AFL Grand Final rematch between Richmond and Greater Western Sydney at Giants Stadium.

But the commentators are not at the ground in Sydney.

On the third floor of the ABC building in Melbourne, at the end of a long corridor, you can see two large black doors — the entrance to the boardroom.

An A4 laminated sign reads: “Social Distancing, 13 persons allowed in this room.”

A long hallway with green carpet leading to two large black doors
With interstate travel restricted, the ABC Grandstand team are working from the Board Room at the end of this walkway.(ABC: Matilda Marozzi)

While Victorians face travel restrictions and matches are being held in other states — primarily Queensland — the Grandstand team is calling matches from here.

“It’s ironic because I moved from Queensland for a job in Melbourne producing football,” producer Roger Oldridge said.

“Now most of the football is in Queensland and I am in lockdown in Melbourne.”

Commentary boxes are cramped

In an ordinary season, the commentary team would call the game from a box on the wing of the ground.

“We are usually elevated, smack bang in the middle of the wing, so you can see everything,” Kelli Underwood said.

The ball-by-ball commentators would be at the front of the box, with the experts seated a row behind, and finally the audio technician and the producer.

There is no room for social distancing.

Five men sitting in a commentary box above a football ground.
The ABC Grandstand team in the commentary box at Docklands stadium before social distancing was in place.(ABC: Stuart Baker)

The team had to find a COVID-safe place to call games.

They settled on the boardroom.

As you enter, Baker is sitting directly in front of the door at the end of a large table, with a mixing panel in front of him.

Expert commentators Cameron Ling and Mick Malthouse are in the middle on opposite sides of the table, followed by Underwood and Alister Nicholson closest to the two large television screens, which are displaying live pictures from the ground.

The ABC Grandstand team sitting around a large table in the ABC Board Room while looking at two large screens.
Technical producer Stuart Baker makes sure Cameron Ling, Kelli Underwood, Alister Nicholson and Mick Malthouse can call the Round 8 Match between Richmond and GWS from the ABC offices in Melbourne.(ABC: Matilda Marozzi)

Ling said covering the 2020 season has been challenging, but he had to roll with it.

“It’s kind of interesting because it is new.”

With 50 seconds to go until the game begins, a message appears on the top-left corner of the TV screens: [timeout].

Baker braces, ready to run to the remote to stop the screens going black before the first bounce, but there is no need to panic: the TVs stay on.

The game begins

Watching the team call the game is akin to seeing a professional jazz ensemble improvising at a live show.

Everything is fast-flowing. Everyone knows his or her role.

Underwood and Nicholson seamlessly alternate in calling passages of play, the experts chime in with analysis.

It seems miraculous they are not constantly speaking over each other.

“Because we’ve called a lot together, I know when Kelli might come to me,” Nicholson said.

In pre-COVID times, Nicholson and Underwood would be seated so closely they could tap each other to indicate the other person should take over the call.

Now they point across the table.

Calling from the TV ‘tough’

Calling a game from television footage comes with its challenges.

At the ground, the team can choose where they want to look, to identify patterns of play or individual player match-ups.

Now all their commentary and analysis must be based on the host television broadcaster’s feed.

“We are lacking that wide view of the ground,” Underwood said. “There are usually so many things you can pick up off the ball.”

A woman with a mask and headset on talks animatedly, while a man with a mask and headset listens
Kelli Underwood says calling AFL games away from the ground is ‘challenging’.(ABC: Matilda Marozzi)

Malthouse says if money wasn’t a factor for the league, he’d call off the season and ask everyone to come back in 2021.

“How can you enjoy it? It’s not football, it’s all compromise,” he said.

After three months without AFL, Underwood disagrees.

“Just to have it back, even in this form, has been so important.”

In what has already been an ‘unprecedented season’, the AFL is now gearing up to play 33 games in 20 days.

For Oldridge, it all adds to the intrigue of what has turned into a “wild and bizarre” year.

“Everything is so unpredictable. You have no idea how your team will play, or if they will play in two weeks,” he said.

“That is why it is so interesting to cover.”



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