Some of the South West’s favourite sporting stars are being forced to hit the road and live under strict COVID protocols as Australian codes continue in their efforts to dodge ballooning case numbers across the country. For some, it will mean spells of more than a month on the road away from family and friends, while others, such as Bunbury cricketer and Sydney Thunder batter Sam Whiteman, are believed to have contracted the virus on their travels. The dire situation on the east coast, including in some of Australia’s sporting heartlands, has made for an anxious wait for the AFLW — including the South West’s two new draftees. For Beth Schilling and Dana East, who were picked up by West Coast and Fremantle respectively, Saturday afternoon’s round one derby clash between their two sides will be the last time they play on WA soil until at least early February. Also facing a lengthy time away from home is Perth Glory A-League Women’s captain Natasha Rigby. The Margaret River born and raised full-back is facing the prospect of at least five weeks with her side in New South Wales, where case numbers are reaching upwards of 35,000 each day. “Due to WA’s hard border, we will be relocating to Sydney for five weeks in order continue to compete,” she said in an Instagram post last week. “There has been a lot of uncertainty and unknown over the past few weeks but this group has shown incredible patience, versatility and strength. “It will be tough being away from home, our amazing support networks and our members and fans but I have no doubt that this experience will only bring us closer and fuel our desire to bring home a whole lot of points.” For Perth Scorchers Big Bash League paceman Lance Morris, the COVID chaos meant his side was forced to play a rescheduled game against the Sydney Sixers on little more than five hours’ notice on Tuesday night. Morris, playing his first season in orange after shifting from the Melbourne Stars, told the South Western Times before the season he ”would love to play at least one game at Optus (Stadium)”, but having missed what will now be the club’s only home game, that won’t be possible.