Forced to relocate in the face of Victoria's newly imposed COVID-19 restrictions, Melbourne City's Scott Jamieson remains in the dark about where he and his side will complete their remaining three regular-season matches.
Residents in 36 Melbourne suburbs across 10 postcodes returned to stage stay-at-home laws until at least July 29 after localised coronavirus spikes,
Jamieson is one of three players at Melbourne City who, along with a member of the strength and conditioning department, lives in one of the areas impacted, forcing the City captain to relocate to temporary accommodation.
“It’s been interesting,” he told media on Friday. “I’ve had to move along with two other players and Ralph, our fitness coach.
“It’s a bit difficult at the moment for me and my partner because she’s eight months pregnant and we’ve got a lot of stuff ready at our house for the baby.
“I had to go to a hotel and that’s where I’ve been for the past two days, waiting on the NSW government and their decision regarding an exemption for AFL players and the A-League.
“I know the AFL here; they’ve got the pull with the government. So I’m hoping Eddie McGuire does what he does best, talks a good game and allows his AFL boys to get a special exemption and then we fall behind them in the domino line and I get a special exemption to go back to my house.”
Having played more games than any other A-League club so far during the 2019/20 campaign, City have just three games to complete in the 28-day home stretch to fill out their regular-season slate.
Prior to the latest virus surge, those three games – against Western United, Sydney FC and Adelaide United – had all been slated to take part in Victoria; the club undergoing an extended stay in Northern NSW just prior to the league’s suspension to complete their final interstate fixtures against Central Coast Mariners and Newcastle Jets.
The club had been hoping to stage their match against Western United at AAMI Park, given the 11- and 10-day break between their subsequent games, organising to fly in and fly out of NSW for their remaining contests should hosting them in Victoria not be an option.
However, with the situation in Melbourne remaining fluid, Jamieson says that he and his playing group remain in the dark about the location and timing of any of their remaining ties or if they will be forced to go into a hub to complete them.
“[We’ve had] no indication,” said Jamieson. “I know [Head of the A-League] Greg O’Rourke, when they did the draw, came out [with public comments] but that was the only time I’ve heard from Greg apart from a PFA meeting about eight weeks ago.
“So no, no communication in regard to the players.
“I know our clubs been in calls with other teams but we’re in a tricky situation at Melbourne City. A lot of people are shouting to the rooftops about sending Victorian teams to Sydney, and fair enough, but we’ve got 11 days between games. We’re playing on the 20th, playing on the 1st and then our third game against Adelaide is on the 11th.
“I’d be totally for it and understanding about throwing us into that hub if our games were [grouped] similar to the others. But we tried to help the league, help the FFA, by uprooting when everything unstable by going to Newcastle and playing CCM and the Jets.
“Obviously the government, these things are out of the FFA’s control, but I think common sense would hopefully prevail and if the government allows it we got the opportunity to fly in and fly out of Sydney.
“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. You’ve got players like myself getting kicked out of our homes, so we’re pretty safe in that sense.”
Despite his aggrievement towards the possibility of being forced to leave an eight-months pregnant wife to spend up to a month in a NSW hub to play three games, Jamieson was quick to clarify that his ire did not extend to his own club – praising the support they had provided during the A-League’s shutdown.
“[City] has supported every player throughout this since the day we jumped on a plane and flew to Newcastle and were in limbo because we thought maybe the borders were going to be closed,” he said.
“Our football club has supported every player and staff member throughout this whole time, better than any other team in this league.
“I can say that without a doubt: our club has supported us better than any other team in this league."
However, though going on to fiercely proclaim that every member of his side was united across their three, socially distanced dressing rooms in a desire to play, Jamieson did admit that his circumstances were challenging.
“I wouldn’t relocate my partner to Sydney, we’ve got all the correct people around us in regards to midwives and doctors here, so that wouldn’t be fair on her,” Jamieson said.
“In regard to the situation, if I had to uproot, I’d sit down with the football club and discuss from there.
“I think, with the measures that the government taken here to flatten the curve and lower it, hopefully in the next two or three weeks we see it decline and we can get the opportunity to fly in and fly out rather than go to a hub.
“It’s something that I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it and speak to the relevant parties and go from there.”