ESSENDON is anticipating it will need to fly two-and-half hours earlier than required in order to share a game day chartered flight to Sydney with North Melbourne in round two.
As part of the fixture released on Monday, the Bombers will face Sydney at the SCG at 3.35pm AEST on Sunday, more than two hours after the Roos begin their clash with Greater Western Sydney at Giants Stadium at 1.05pm AEST.
However, due to the cost-saving and biosecurity measures in place around COVID-19, both the Roos and Bombers are preparing the need to share a flight to the Harbour City.
Where possible, clubs are expected to fly in and fly out for matches on the same day as games and avoid overnight hotel stays in the early part of the season resumption. Previously, clubs would fly the day before a match and stay overnight, or in the case of WA clubs, up to two days prior.
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With the Roos likely to be needed at Giants Stadium – 35 minutes from Sydney Airport – two hours before the match, a flight shared with the Roos would likely depart Melbourne by 8.30am AEST.
That would come more than seven hours before the Bombers meet the Swans, ensuring more than six hours of preparation time in Sydney before the game.
It would be a similar quandary for the Roos at the end of the day when they wait around for the Bombers' match to end before flying home.
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When contacted by AFL.com.au, both clubs were prepared for compromises around travel in order for the season to get underway.
When sharing a flight, clubs are expected to be bunched together at either ends of the plane for one leg and before swapping ends for the return flight home.
In round three, the Giants face the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium on Friday night. With strict late-night curfews in place for Sydney Airport, they would be expected to stay the night in Melbourne and potentially fly back with the Swans after their Saturday afternoon clash with North Melbourne.
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Melbourne and Hawthorn face a similar situation to the Roos and Bombers in round five when they travel to face Sydney and GWS on the same day.