Men's Ashes 2021-22
WA's hardline border stance puts Perth Test in doubt
Fifth Ashes Test location clouded after Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan insists on 14-days quarantine for Ashes players and associated cricket events and broadcast staff
30 November 2021, 03:23 PM AEST
Perth's hopes of hosting the fifth Ashes Test have taken another big hit after WA Premier Mark McGowan reiterated his hardline stance on quarantine rules and banned players' wives and girlfriends for the trip west.
The 60,000-seat Optus Stadium is currently scheduled to host the Vodafone Ashes finale from January 14.
Earlier this month, McGowan said he was "very confident" the Test match would go ahead, despite it coming just five days after the conclusion of the SCG Test.
At that stage, it was believed McGowan was considering relaxing the COVID-19 quarantine rules that players would have to adhere to given the Test match would be played just weeks before WA was due to throw open its borders.
But in a dramatic turn over the past week, the emergence of the new Omicron variant has complicated matters.
On Saturday, WA Cricket chief executive Christina Matthews said the prospect of Perth hosting the fifth Test had gone from 97 per cent to 50 per cent.
Matthews said one of the major stumbling blocks was the sheer size of the broadcast team and the subsequent quarantine complications that would bring.
Any chance of players being able to complete a shortened quarantine period instead of the regular 14-day stint was rejected by McGowan on Tuesday.
The same hardline rules will also apply to any staff members or broadcast workers coming across.
That means all members who fly to Perth will be under strict quarantine conditions throughout the entirety of the Test match – a situation that may not be feasible.
"We have put in place very strict rules," McGowan said.
"So we've said to them, 'you need to have 14 days quarantine'. And that has to apply to all the broadcast staff, the cricket staff.
"They can't just bring wives and girlfriends with them – same rules as we put in place for the AFL.
"It's up to them whether they want to adhere to those rules or not."
Should Cricket Australia be forced to find an alternative venue, there is no shortage of suitors for the event.
Shane Warne tweeted his preference for the fifth Test to become a day-night affair at the MCG, while Cricket Tasmania continue to push hard for the Test to be held at Blundstone Arena.
Canberra's Manuka Oval could also be a contender, as could back-to-back Tests at the SCG.
Vodafone Men's Ashes
Australia: Pat Cummins (c), Steve Smith (vc), Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, Tim Paine, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner
England: Joe Root (c), James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood
First Test: December 8-12, The Gabba
Second Test: December 16-20, Adelaide Oval
Third Test: December 26-30, MCG
Fourth Test: January 5-9, SCG
Fifth Test: January 14-18, Perth Stadium