Essendon have been dealt a major blow on the eve of the AFL finals with defender Nick Hind ruled out of the Bombers' clash against the Bulldogs on Sunday after visiting a COVID-19 exposure site.
Hind is unable to travel to Tasmania for the final after he was found to have been at a Tier 2 exposure site in Victoria as the state is battling a growing COVID-19 outbreak.
Hind visited a supermarket at the Altona Gate Shopping Centre last Saturday and was alerted on Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services that the location had since been identified as a Tier 2 exposure site.
Hind got tested immediately and quarantined until he received a negative result on Friday morning. However, a condition of entry into Tasmania requires visitors not to have attended a Tier 1 or Tier 2 exposure site in the 14 days prior to their arrival.
"We understand the reasons for these protocols and respect the Tasmanian guidelines, which treat Tier 1 and Tier 2 exposure sites as the same risk," Essendon's general manager of football Josh Mahoney said in a statement.
"This means that Nick will be unable to enter the state and won't play in our first final against the Western Bulldogs.
"This is obviously an unfortunate situation for Nick to be in. He briefly visited a supermarket for a takeaway lunch and has followed the correct procedures, including QR codes while cooperating fully with the AFL and DHHS guidelines.
"The club has been in constant dialogue with the Tasmanian Government throughout this period and respect their health and safety protocols, which are designed to protect their local community.
"Given Nick's negative test result, the club will work with the AFL and the relevant state bodies on his availability for future finals should we continue to qualify."
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