Mad Monday parties banned
The AFL has banned clubs from celebrating the traditional Mad Monday party in Queensland as clubs in Sunshine State hubs are put on notice.
With disgraced Richmond duo Sydney Stack and Callum Coleman-Jones ordered to leave the state after Friday's infamous Surfers Paradise bubble breach brawl, The Sunday Mail can reveal that the AFL has written to all 18 club CEOs informing them there are to be no Mad Monday celebrations in Queensland to avoid any more embarrassment for the code.
Under the AFL's COVID-safe plan, players are not prevented from drinking alcohol, but officials are concerned any outrageous Mad Monday shenanigans would be a poor look for a code relying on the generosity of the Queensland government to keep the season alive.
But dozens of players are organising post-season holidays in the Sunshine State, where they will be free to visit cafes, bars and restaurants - once they have checked out of their hubs and are no longer subject to the AFL's strict COVID-19 protocols.
Queensland's chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young is expected to approve players staying on because they have completed their quarantine periods and followed the rules.
Queensland's bid for the AFL Grand Final included an offer to support the Brownlow Medal, which will be staged on the Gold Coast.
The holiday green light will allow players who are out of the premiership race to attend the function. Players still in the Grand Final mix must attend virtually.
Stack and Coleman-Jones attracted lengthy bans, heavy fines and widespread condemnation, including from a furious Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, after they were arrested following a fight outside a Surfers kebab shop some 20 minutes drive from their Carrara hub.
However, it is understood officials from the AFL had been in discussions with clubs for some time over the fate of Mad Monday and wrote to CEOs on August 24 informing them in no uncertain terms that there would be no celebrations for teams currently in Queensland.
Teams from WA, SA and NSW, which have been allowed to host games throughout the regular season, would be free to hold their traditional parties in their home states once their Queensland commitments are finished, while Victorian clubs would be at the mercy of whatever COVID-19 restrictions are imposed by the Daniel Andrews government at the time.
West Coast, Port Adelaide and possibly GWS are likely to feature in the finals and could avoid having to play any post-season games in Queensland until the Grand Final, but the 10 Victorian clubs couped up in Queensland hubs until at least the end of the regular season will have to forgo Mad Monday celebrations until they return home.
Under Queensland's own current coronavirus restrictions, private gatherings for the general public are restricted to just 10 people, but licenced venues with a designated COVID-safe plan are able to entertain regular crowds.
There had been fears of how images of dozens of boozing footy teammates would be received while Queenslanders are unable to invite more than nine friends over for a barbecue.
The AFL's move had attracted a mixed response from those inside the Queensland hubs, but the public backlash to Stack and Coleman-Jones has convinced many it was the right decision.
An AFL spokesman confirmed the move to scrap Mad Monday parties in Queensland.