A CROWD of up to 7000 fans will be allowed to attend Friday night's Geelong v Western Bulldogs clash at GMHBA Stadium as the Cats prepare to welcome back reigning best and fairest Cam Guthrie from injury.
It comes after the Victorian Government announced that COVID-19 restrictions would be eased.
However, all spectators must be club members and live in the regional areas close to Geelong, with no fans from Melbourne allowed to attend, acting Premier James Merlino said on Wednesday afternoon.
Ticketing details for Friday night's game will be confirmed as soon as possible, the Cats said in a statement.
The Cats' selection logjam is expected to deepen with Guthrie to return from a three-week shoulder injury, however small forward Gryan Miers looks set to miss at least one more match after a fractured leg.
"Yeah, we think he'll (Guthrie) play," coach Chris Scott said on Wednesday.
"He (Miers) played some match practice last week, on the Saturday, which was good for him to get under his belt.
"He's coming back from a fractured fibula so he missed a fair bit of running so he's behind in comparison to, say, a player who's had a shoulder issue who could still run.
"We're probably leaning towards being a bit more cautious with Gryan's return."
Miers appears likely to play in the VFL with the Cats awaiting confirmation on when their reserves side will play this weekend with matches set to return.
The clash against the Dogs is the second of a tough three-week block for the Cats that finishes next week with a trip to face Brisbane at the Gabba.
"This trio of games always loomed large once we saw some exposed form this year," Scott said.
"It's a good test, it gives us a little bit of a chance to see where we're at. There's even more than that at stake, there's spots on the ladder up for grabs. It takes on extra importance in a tight comp."
While Scott said he was happy for the players to play in front of fans on Friday night, he conceded it was disappointing there couldn't be bigger allowances for crowds in the club's regional setting.
Geelong CEO Brian Cook said on Tuesday that it would cost the club up to $900,000 if the match was played with no spectators.
"It means a lot to us to get a crowd here. If we don't get a crowd here, it will affect us somewhere between half-a-million dollars and $800-900,000," he told SEN radio.
"It has a commercial implication as well and we can't get anywhere near that sort of compensation or dollars from playing the game interstate. In fact, the dollars that were thrown around were probably very, very low compared to that."
Cook said the club had decided to retain its home-ground advantage by hosting the game at GMHBA Stadium, as well as keeping the players at home with their families after an arduous travel schedule for their round 13 game against Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval.
Two of the round 14 games scheduled to be played in Victoria have already been relocated to Tasmania: North Melbourne v Brisbane on Saturday in Launceston, and Hawthorn v Essendon on Sunday in Hobart.