Darling fails to meet AFL vax guidelines

Roger Vaughan |

Jack Darling’s AFL career is in limbo for now after the West Coast star failed to meet league vaccination guidelines.

As the AFL and other sports reel from the WA government’s announcement that its hard borders will remain beyond February 5, the Eagles have announced that Darling is training away from the team.

West Coast added in their Friday statement that they are “optimistic” he will return to the team.

“Jack Darling has not adhered to the AFL’s COVID-19 training and playing mandates and therefore – under the AFL rules – he will be unable to attend the club’s facility … and by extension any club training sessions,” the Eagles said.

“While Jack will take some time to assess his future he will train independently of the remainder of the squad.”

Under league rules, all players and staff at the two WA teams must have had two jabs by Friday to continue training at club facilities.

Late Friday afternoon, the Brisbane Lions announced they will be placing Cam Ellis-Yolmen on the inactive list.

Ellis-Yolmen, 28, made an unsuccessful submission to the AFL for an exemption and is now ineligible to train or play.

The midfielder joined Brisbane in the 2019 after eight seasons with the Adelaide Crows.

Defender Liam Jones quit Carlton late last year because of the AFL vaccination guidelines.

Earlier this month, it was also revealed North Melbourne midfielder Jed Anderson is yet to have his second COVID-19 vaccination and has not returned from Darwin for the pre-season.

Late on Thursday night, WA Premier Mark McGowan announced that the state would not reopen its borders on February 5 as planned.

Instead, the hard border rules will remain indefinitely.

Perth Scorchers wicketkeeper Josh Inglis reacted with fury to the news in a since-deleted Instagram post.

Without referring to anyone by name, Inglis said whoever was responsible is an “absolute muppet”.

“You have had two years to sort this out. Two years of bragging about how good you are,” he posted.

“Two years to sort out your disaster of a hospital system with your record surplus.

“Two years of destroying families and destroying peoples (sic) mental states in the name of health.

“And you spit in our faces and spit and take away any hope West Aussies had of this ending. You are a disgrace to this state and a disgrace to this country. Absolute muppet.”

Also, Perth Glory chief executive Tony Pignata urged McGowan to think of the millions of dollars the A-League club had lost over the past three seasons spent on the road.

“People think we are just a game (but) this is our livelihood,” he said.

“We’re no different to the mining sector (because) we provide a service to WA and I don’t think we’re getting respect.

“When Mr McGowan comes out and says: ‘I don’t care about sport’, that’s fine but think about the people involved in sport and their livelihoods, that’s what’s being hurt at the moment.”

Glory are currently in Sydney and the border rules mean they are likely to consider basing themselves in Australia’s eastern states for the rest of the season.

More impact is anticipated for the AFL as well as the NRL which had hoped to take State of Origin to WA later this year.