Nick Hind has been robbed of a maiden AFL finals appearance after unknowingly visiting a Tier 2 COVID-19 exposure site at the weekend.
The former Clunes and East Point star's visit to the Altona Gates Shopping Centre will see him miss Essendon's elimination final against the Western Bulldogs at Launceston on Sunday.
While Hind recorded a negative COVID test on Friday morning, the Tasmanian government requires travellers entering the state to not have visited a Tier 1 or Tier 2 exposure site in the 14 days prior to their arrival.
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As a result, the 27-year-old will stay in Melbourne, withe Bombers working with the AFL to determine whether he could play in subsequent finals should Essendon win on Sunday.
There is no suggestion Hind breached the AFL's COVID-19 rules by attending the shopping centre to purchase a takeaway lunch.
Essendon's general manager of football Josh Mahoney said the most important factor was protecting the health and safety of the Tasmanian community.
"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," Mahoney said.
"This means that Nick will be unable to enter the state and won't play in our first final against the 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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