THE FIXTURE for rounds six and seven of the 2020 Toyota AFL Premiership Season is out.
But who is travelling where? And are there still hubs?
AFL.com.au reporter Riley Beveridge breaks down what the new fixture means to 'keep things simple' for you, analysing where your club will play its next series of games.
WHY HAVE ONLY TWO ROUNDS BEEN RELEASED?
As was the case when the AFL released a four-week fixture block prior to the season recommencing, only two rounds have been revealed in order for the League to maintain a flexible and agile schedule. State governments around the country continue to adjust and amend restrictions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the short-term fixture giving the AFL the ability to react to those changes and schedule games accordingly. For example, where Western Australia couldn't host interstate sides between rounds two and five, its government is now allowing a hub-style model from round seven onwards. That's why West Coast and Fremantle will return home, while Collingwood and Geelong will head to Western Australia in this next fixture block.
WHAT IS HAPPENING TO THE GOLD COAST HUB?
The Gold Coast hub will exist in round six, before coming to an end ahead of round seven. West Coast, Fremantle, Adelaide and Port Adelaide will all play games in Queensland in round six, with Melbourne and Greater Western Sydney venturing north as opponents during that weekend. However, from there, the four West and South Australian sides will go their separate ways. West Coast and Fremantle will return home for a block of fixtures at Optus Stadium in round seven, while Adelaide and Port Adelaide will both head to Victoria to play matches at Marvel Stadium. The expectation is that both South Australian teams will then be allowed to return home ahead of round eight, hosting games in a fly-in, fly-out model. However, this has not been confirmed by the AFL or the state government.
WILL THERE BE A WEST AUSTRALIAN HUB?
Eased restrictions in Western Australia means that clubs will be able to play games at Optus Stadium in the coming weeks. Essentially, two Victorian sides at a time will journey to Western Australia and be quarantined in a hotel for the mandatory 14 days. During that time, they will be allowed to play each other – as Collingwood and Geelong will do on the Friday night in round seven. Once they have served their quarantine period, they will then be allowed to play West Coast and Fremantle, before returning to Victoria. A new set of Victorian teams will then take their place in the hub-like setup. The AFL's fixture boss, Travis Auld, has suggested as many as six Victorian teams could make this trip over the course of the year.
CAN CROWDS ATTEND GAMES IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA?
Yes, they can. From this Saturday, stadiums in Western Australia will be allowed to reach 50 percent capacity. Then, according to premier Mark McGowan, stadiums will be allowed to reach 100 percent capacity from July 18. Collingwood and Geelong are due to meet in the first game of the recommenced season at Optus Stadium on July 17, meaning 30,000 fans will be able to attend that particular fixture. The Derby, between West Coast and Fremantle, will fall on July 19 – allowing 60,000 supporters to attend.
WHAT ABOUT THAT POSTPONED GAME?
Interestingly to note, the postponed fixture between Essendon and Melbourne is not in the new block of fixtures. The game, originally due to be played last Sunday, was rescheduled when Bombers defender Conor McKenna returned a positive COVID-19 test on the eve of the match. It will now be played at some point later in the year, with the AFL not yet giving a midweek time slot any serious consideration.