Car swaps, border towns, fast lanes and AFL tick offs — Michael Warner reveals the story behind Gold Coast Suns chief Mark Evans’ dual border crossings.
Car swaps, border towns, fast lanes and AFL tick offs — Michael Warner reveals the story behind Gold Coast Suns chief Mark Evans’ dual border crossings.

Footy chief’s ‘odd’ car swap at border

Gold Coast Suns chief Mark Evans swapped cars with the club's Victorian-based list boss before the staffer entered Queensland via a state border checkpoint.

Evans drove into northern NSW in late July from the Gold Coast, where he met Suns list and strategy boss Craig Cameron.

Cameron, who had been travelling up from Victoria, then used Evans' car - with Queensland number plates - to enter the Sunshine state.

Evans drove Cameron's Victorian-plated car across the border, showing his Queensland drivers' licence when he was questioned at the checkpoint, before heading back to the Gold Coast.

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Gold Coast’s Victorian-based list boss Craig Cameron was involved in the swap with Evans. Picture: Yuri Kouzmin
Gold Coast’s Victorian-based list boss Craig Cameron was involved in the swap with Evans. Picture: Yuri Kouzmin

At the time, Queensland police were targeting cars with Victorian and NSW number plates to ensure people from "hot spots" had not been there for at least 14 days.

Those driving cars with Queensland plates were more likely to be waved through the checks.

Around the same time, Evans also helped the mother and sister of injured Suns midfielder Matt Rowell enter Queensland.

Evans and his wife drove down from the Gold Coast in separate cars, leaving one of the vehicles for the Rowells.

Evans met and had coffee with the family before returning north. The Rowells drove across the border a few days later.

A senior Queensland government figure familiar with the case said the car swapping between Evans and Cameron was "strange" and "certainly very odd".

Neither Evans nor the AFL would comment on the unusual behaviour, but a source insisted both the Rowells and Cameron had served their 14-day minimum stay outside Victoria before entering Queensland, and had completed border declarations.

 

Evans helped young star Matthew Rowell’s mother and sister. Picture: AAP
Evans helped young star Matthew Rowell’s mother and sister. Picture: AAP

The Rowells had been lent a car because they had flown into Ballina and did not have a vehicle, a source said.

Regarding the Cameron-Evans car switch, a source said there were significant queues at the border and Victorian-plated cars were held up for longer.

It is not known whether Cameron was stopped at the border.

A Queensland Police spokesperson said its main concern was to ensure anyone from outside the state had been outside "hot spots" for the necessary 14 days.

"The Queensland Police Service border screening process assesses the eligibility of the person to enter Queensland regardless of the origin of the flight or vehicle's number plate," the spokesperson said.

"Queensland registered vehicles are also stopped at the border to ensure compliance with the current CHO Border Directions."

Evans, the former AFL football operations boos, and Cameron are long-time friends who worked together at the Melbourne Football Club before reuniting at the Suns.

The league would also not comment on whether there was any issue with Evans coming into contact with the Rowells in northern NSW - when he dropped them the car.

Rowell and teammate Noah Anderson live with Evans on the Gold Coast.

His mother and sister were invited to stay at the home to help care for the star midfielder, who picked up a serious shoulder surgery playing against Geelong in Victoria on July 4.

The AFL has enforced strict COVID protocols for all teams and officials.


Originally published as Suns chief's 'odd' car swap at border


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