City, United hope to avoid early hub entry

Victoria's AFL clubs leave the state next week but Melbourne City and Western United are uncertain as to when they will enter an A-League hub in NSW.

MARK RUDAN addresses the media at a Wellington Phoenix A-League press conference after being appointed new head coach at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand. Rudan has signed a two-year deal with the club.
MARK RUDAN addresses the media at a Wellington Phoenix A-League press conference after being appointed new head coach at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand. Rudan has signed a two-year deal with the club. Picture: Elias Rodriguez/Getty Images

Victoria's A-League clubs remain hopeful they'll be able to avoid heading into a NSW hub until after they've completed their remaining fixtures against each other.

Western United and Melbourne Victory will re-start the season on July 16, before United play Melbourne City on July 20.

United remain optimistic those fixtures will be played at AAMI Park before heading to NSW for the remainder of the season, despite Victoria's AFL clubs all opting to leave the state next week amid the state's COVID-19 spike.

"We have been briefed on the possibility of us moving to New South Wales to play those games," United coach Mark Rudan told reporters on Friday.

"However we feel quite confident that we're all doing the right thing and the three Melbourne clubs are working hard to do the right thing as well.

"If we can look after one another and play in a safe environment, we'd prefer to stay here in Melbourne and play in Melbourne.

"I mean there are no guarantees that going to Sydney, that it's not gonna be affected either.

"So we're working hard to try and maintain the fixture as it is - meaning we play Victory first up, and then four days later Melbourne City."

Rudan said there had been concerns among some United players with young families about potentially heading into a hub.

Melbourne City skipper Scott Jamieson, whose partner is eight months pregnant, has already had to move out of his home - in a "hot spot" suburb - and into a hotel temporarily.

Jamieson said ideally City, who only have three regular-season games left, wouldn't be in a hub for an extended period and hoped flying in and out of Sydney could be an option if they couldn't play in Melbourne.

While other teams have jam-packed fixtures, City will play just three games in 23 days, with at least 10 days between each game.

"I'd be totally for it and understanding, throw us into that hub if our games were similar to the others," Jamieson told reporters on Friday.

"But ... we tried to help the league, we tried to help the FFA by uprooting when everything was unstable by going to Newcastle and playing Central Coast.

"So obviously (with) the government, these things are out of the FFA's control but I think common sense would hopefully prevail here and if the government allows it, then we get the opportunity to maybe fly in and fly out of Sydney.

"There's no issues with that, but putting us in a hub with 11 days in between games is probably extreme.

"If the government allowed you to fly in and fly out, it'd be a real cost to the FFA but we could obviously charter in and charter out.

"We'd be able to prepare at the CFA, which is only used by Melbourne City players and our staff, so we're safe as anyone."


AAP