SANFL's Magpies could fall victim to virus

Port Adelaide CEO Keith Thomas fears for the future of SANFL clubs like Port Magpies.
Port Adelaide CEO Keith Thomas fears for the future of SANFL clubs like Port Magpies.

Port Adelaide chief executive Keith Thomas admits the future of the AFL club's long-standing state league outfit could be in jeopardy as the sport grapples with the financial crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Port Adelaide Magpies are South Australia's most successful Australian rules team with 36 SANFL premierships - a national record across the major state-based competitions.

The club is celebrating its 150th year in 2020, but it could also be the Magpies' last.

"I would hate to contemplate that the Port Magpies won't get through,'' Thomas said on SEN SA Breakfast on Monday morning.

"We are committed to it in the SANFL, but we'll have to wait and see.

"The reality is we have to see where this lands, I don't know how the SANFL is planning to move through it.

"It's too early in the conversation to fully understand what's going to happen to football in general.

"There are going to be a lot of structural conversations in the next few months."

As with all AFL clubs, Port Adelaide was forced to stand down about 80 per cent of its staff last week after the national competition went into shutdown.

Thomas' comments about the Magpies came a few days after AFL club Carlton made the tough call to axe its state league affiliate, the Northern Blues, effectively ending the club's 138-year existence.

There are fears for other state league clubs as the football industry fights for survival.

Central District, South Australia's most successful club this century, last week launched a fundraising campaign aimed at raising $250,000 to save it from extinction.

Australian Associated Press