AFL stars depart for month-long interstate quarantine hubs to dodge coronavirus 

AFL stars depart for month-long interstate quarantine hubs to dodge coronavirus 

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AFL stars have said goodbye to their loved ones in emotional airport scenes, as they fled Victoria for quarantine hubs to minimise the risk of contracting or spreading coronavirus.

All ten Victorian clubs will spend at least 32 days interstate as their home state battles a second wave of the virus.

The embattled state recorded 127 new infections on Monday, as well as two deaths in 24 hours.

Melbourne Demons and Geelong Cats players left on Sunday night bound for Sydney, and were seen kissing and hugging loved ones.

A number of players will spend four weeks separated from their families, with Demons Alex Neal-Bullen and Sam Weideman among those spotted at Melbourne Airport in romantic farewells.

Melbourne Demons star Sam Weideman (pictured on Sunday) farewells his girlfriend before heading to Sydney

Melbourne Demons star Sam Weideman (pictured on Sunday) farewells his girlfriend before heading to Sydney 

Western Bulldogs player Mitch Wallis and his wife Emily and daughter Charlotte are seen arriving at the Gold Coast Airport on Monday

Western Bulldogs player Mitch Wallis and his wife Emily and daughter Charlotte are seen arriving at the Gold Coast Airport on Monday

Demons teammate Alex Neal-Bullen (pictured) was also seen farewelling his partner in emotional scenes at Melbourne Airport

Demons teammate Alex Neal-Bullen (pictured) was also seen farewelling his partner in emotional scenes at Melbourne Airport 

Richmond player Trent Cotchin is seen with his family after arriving at the Gold Coast Airport on Monday

Richmond player Trent Cotchin is seen with his family after arriving at the Gold Coast Airport on Monday

Several Melbourne-based teams also flew out on Monday, including reigning premiers Richmond Tigers, Essendon Bombers, Western Bulldogs and North Melbourne Kangaroos. 

The Essendon and North Melbourne squads touched down on the Gold Coast on Monday afternoon.

A host of stars who couldn’t bear the thought of being apart from their young families for so long have been joined by their partners and children in the quarantine hubs.

They include Tigers skipper Trent Cotchin, Bulldogs’ Josh Bruce, Jason Johannisen and Tom Liberatore and North Melbourne stars Ben Brown and Shaun Higgins. 

Richmond player Trent Cotchin is seen carrying his daughter when he arrived at Gold Coast Airport on Monday

Richmond player Trent Cotchin is seen carrying his daughter when he arrived at Gold Coast Airport on Monday

A Virgin Australia hostess greets Tigers skipper Trent Cotchin's young daughters as they board their flight headed for Queensland's Sunshine Coast on Monday (pictured)

A Virgin Australia hostess greets Tigers skipper Trent Cotchin’s young daughters as they board their flight headed for Queensland’s Sunshine Coast on Monday (pictured)

North Melbourne star Ben Brown (pictured in blue) leaves Melbourne with his wife Hester (wearing a backpack) and daughter Aila headed for the Gold Coast

North Melbourne star Ben Brown (pictured in blue) leaves Melbourne with his wife Hester (wearing a backpack) and daughter Aila headed for the Gold Coast

Western Bulldogs player Mitch Wallis seen carrying his newborn baby Charlotte alongside his wife Emily on Monday

Western Bulldogs player Mitch Wallis seen carrying his newborn baby Charlotte alongside his wife Emily on Monday

Tigers superstar Dustin Martin appeared to be in good spirits as he boarded the plane bound for Noosa on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

Two Richmond premiership stars elected not to join the hub and will therefore be unavailable for many weeks: Bachar Houli, whose daughter was born last week, and Shaun Edwards, whose wife is heavily pregnant. 

Also seen boarding the Bombers flight was Conor McMcKenna, who tested positive after his offseason trip to his native Ireland, and will be available for selection for his first game of the season this weekend.

The Hawthorn Hawks were already in Sydney and lost to GWS Giants on Sunday.

Cam McCarthy shares a moment with his puppy prior to Fremantle Dockers AFL players departing for the Gold Coast on June 09

Cam McCarthy shares a moment with his puppy prior to Fremantle Dockers AFL players departing for the Gold Coast on June 09

Bulldogs star Josh Bruce (pictured) played doting dad to daughter Poppy as they boarded the plane

Bulldogs star Josh Bruce (pictured) played doting dad to daughter Poppy as they boarded the plane

North Melbourne player Shaun Higgins (pictured) gives his daughter Rosie a piggyback after touching down on the Gold Coast on Monday afternoon

North Melbourne player Shaun Higgins (pictured) gives his daughter Rosie a piggyback after touching down on the Gold Coast on Monday afternoon

Western Bulldogs player Josh Bruce (right) and his daughter Poppy are seen arriving at the Gold Coast Airport

Western Bulldogs player Josh Bruce (right) and his daughter Poppy are seen arriving at the Gold Coast Airport

They will remain at their hub in the beachside suburb of Coogee for at least one month.

The Demons will also remain in Sydney.

St Kilda and Carlton had also headed north to Noosa and the Gold Coast respectively.

Geelong will spend a week Sydney before heading west to be part of the Perth hub along with Collingwood, who will also head to Sydney first for this weekend’s clash against the Hawks.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said the plan was for Victorian teams to return home after living away during a stretch of 45 games in 32 days, but that could change.

North Melbourne player Jed Anderson (pictured) was tasked with holding precious cargo in the form of sleeping baby daughter Katerinah as he made he way through Gold Coast Airport

North Melbourne player Jed Anderson (pictured) was tasked with holding precious cargo in the form of sleeping baby daughter Katerinah as he made he way through Gold Coast Airport

AFL superstar Dustin Martin (pictured, left) and Tigers teammate Mabior Chol (right) were in good spirits as they departed Melbourne Airport on Monday

AFL superstar Dustin Martin (pictured, left) and Tigers teammate Mabior Chol (right) were in good spirits as they departed Melbourne Airport on Monday

Western Bulldogs player Josh Bruce and his wife Pip and daughter Poppy are seen arriving at the Gold Coast Airport

Western Bulldogs player Josh Bruce and his wife Pip and daughter Poppy are seen arriving at the Gold Coast Airport

‘The Victorian clubs now temporarily moving interstate are playing their part in ensuring our season endures in a year that will continue to challenge us all,’ McLachlan told reporters on Friday.

‘We will reassess our options depending on the COVID-19 situation across the country.

‘Everyone has to shoulder the load and bear the pain … we will work to make sure that by the end of the year it is as equitable as it can be.’

Western Bulldogs star Jason Johannisen (pictured carrying baby daughter Lola) was also on dad duty while flying north on Monday

Western Bulldogs star Jason Johannisen (pictured carrying baby daughter Lola) was also on dad duty while flying north on Monday

Essendon Bombers Conor McKenna (pictured, left) and Jayden Laverde (right) boarded their flight for the Gold Coast. McKenna could play his first game in 2020 after a coronavirus scare

Essendon Bombers Conor McKenna (pictured, left) and Jayden Laverde (right) boarded their flight for the Gold Coast. McKenna could play his first game in 2020 after a coronavirus scare

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Manoj Prajapati

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