Olympian booted off oval by footy club
Australian middle-distance star Morgan Mitchell and her training partner Nana Owuse-Afriyie have become unwitting victims of Collingwood's return to training amid the COVID-19 crisis.
The pair were "booted off" the public oval alongside the Magpies' Holden Centre training headquarters in the Olympic Parks precinct near the AAMI Park rectangular stadium on Monday.
With AFL clubs banned from training together for the past couple of months, Mitchell and Owusu-Afriyie have made use of the running track that encircles the oval at the Magpies' Holden Centre base.
But that unofficial arrangement came to an end on Monday morning when they were ordered away by a security guard.
Ahead of the June 11 restart to the AFL season, players are now allowed to train in modified groups of eight while following strict biosecurity protocols.
Those restrictions will be further relaxed on May 25 but players will still face daily health checks and twice-weekly COVID-19 tests.
Mitchell, 25, was a semi-finalist in the 800m at last year's world athletics championships in Doha.
Owusu-Afriyie, 21, made her senior international debut in Doha as a member of the Australian 4x100m relay team.
Collingwood regularly has exclusive use of the public oval when it books out training times through facility manager Melbourne & Olympic Parks authority.
Pies coach Nathan Buckley is reported to have attempted to reason with an irritated Mitchell during the incident before she was moved on.
Fox Footy reporter Tom Morris posted on Twitter security eventually moved the track stars away from the facility.
"Bizarre scenes yesterday when security booted a 2016 Olympian off Collingwood's turf, which didn't go down well," Morris posted.
Bizarre scenes yesterday when security booted a 2016 Olympian off Collingwood's turf, which didn't go down well.— Tom Morris (@tommorris32) May 19, 2020
Fence being built around the ground today. Details with @DrewJonesFOX 👇https://t.co/MwEO7dRsNT pic.twitter.com/WUJ0q54BW1
The incident came on the same day Buckley forecast his team was willing to make sacrifices in order to get the 2020 season underway.
He said Collingwood was prepared to travel and play away games more often during the coronavirus-affected AFL season in order to share the travel burden with rival clubs.
The Magpies are often derided by opposition supporters for their relatively light travel schedule, particularly in comparison to non-Victorian clubs.
But with clubs from Western Australia and South Australia forced into Queensland hubs to restart the 2020 season, Buckley is in a charitable mood.
"(Victorian clubs) are probably going to be in a position to share that travel load a little bit more to buffer, in particular, the WA and South Australian clubs in their predicament of going into hubs," Buckley told Fox Footy on Tuesday night.
"I would put our hand up to travel a little more often to be able to buffer that and to share that load through the 10 Victorian clubs that probably haven't had to travel as much at times.
"I think that would probably be something that we would see (this season)."
Collingwood had been due to play just five of their 22 games outside Melbourne in 2020 before the coronavirus shutdown forced a hasty reworking of the fixture.
Fourteen of the Magpies' home-and-away games were to be played on their home ground at the MCG.
Reigning premiers Richmond had the same amount of games scheduled at the MCG, but also had one more interstate trip in their schedule.
The AFL is set to confirm the first block of reworked fixtures by the end of the month, ahead of the season restart on June 11.
- with AAP
Originally published as Olympian booted off oval by AFL club