THE AFL has been forced to slice two games off the VFL fixture due to the ongoing uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic around Australia.

The competition was originally scheduled to feature all 22 clubs playing 16 matches in a 19-round home-and-away season, but lockdowns in Victoria in May and now in NSW have made that impossible to achieve in the remaining timeframe.

All clubs will now play 14 games across the same 19 rounds, with the top eight finals structure to remain unchanged, starting on Saturday, August 28, ahead of the Grand Final on Sunday, September 19, which returns to Marvel Stadium after being played at Ikon Park in 2019.

>> CHECK OUT THE FIXTURE BELOW

With clubs having played between seven and nine matches across the first 12 rounds, it means some only have five games left to press their finals claims, starting with Friday night’s top eight-shaping contest between Frankston and Port Melbourne at Skybus Stadium.

"The VFL community has shown great resilience, commitment and dedication to get through an unprecedented year for football," AFL Head of Talent Pathways and State League Competitions Tristan Salter said.

"The season has been different, but the rivalries are fierce, the standard is exceptionally high, and the addition of new clubs has provided a competition like no other.
 
"The VFL football-starved community of fans across Victoria, NSW and Queensland has been rewarded with the highest standard of state league football in the country this season and there is much for fans to look forward to as we push towards the finals."

Salter said the ladder represented the even and diverse nature of the VFL competition, with three standalone clubs, two AFL-aligned clubs and three AFL reserves teams making up the top eight, with just two games separating fourth and 10th positions and another seven teams being within one further game.

VFL matches will continue to be screened by broadcast partners the Seven Network, Foxtel and Kayo, as well as heard on community radio stations Casey Radio 97.7FM, 3WBC 94.1FM and RPPFM 98.7.

Ticketing information for fans will be released on the VFL league and club digital channels as games are locked in each week, with venues and match times to remain a week-by-week proposition for the rest of the season.

While COVID-19 continues to impact the community, the health and welfare of our players and the community remains the priority

- Tristan Salter

Meanwhile, a spot in the rebel VFLW Grand Final will be up for grabs when undefeated Collingwood hosts Essendon in the second semi-final at Victoria Park from 12pm on Saturday, with Geelong to host Southern Saints in the sudden-death first semi-final at GMHBA Stadium at 2pm.

"We are excited to showcase four great clubs in the rebel VFLW Finals this weekend and eagerly await to see the results as they march towards the 2021 rebel VFLW Grand Final," Salter said.

"Presenting a 2021 rebel VFLW Premier will be a testament to the hard work of all clubs, players, officials and supporters."

Salter thanked everyone involved in the competition for its patience in difficult circumstances and said the NAB League pathway programs would continue to provide players with opportunities to get a taste of VFL and VFLW senior football as they push towards the AFL and AFLW drafts later this year.

"While COVID-19 continues to impact the community, the health and welfare of our players and the community remains the priority and all matches will operate in a safe manner anchored in the advice of respective governments, public health officials and medical experts," he said.

"The AFL would like to acknowledge the support of all industry stakeholders throughout this process and their patience in the construction of the revised fixture.

"The AFL also thanks the legion of fans and supporters for their patience and acknowledge the changes to the fixture will provide equality in the run home to clubs, players and supporters."

ROUND 13 – 10 & 11 July

Coburg v Northern Bullants

GWS GIANTS v Gold Coast SUNS

Frankston v Port Melbourne

Richmond v Collingwood

Sandringham v Essendon

Footscray v Sydney Swans

Werribee v Casey Demons

Williamstown v Geelong

Brisbane Lions v Southport

 

Byes: North Melbourne, Box Hill, Carlton, Aspley

 

TAC Band Together Road Safety
ROUND 14 – 17 & 18 July

Casey Demons v Box Hill

Collingwood v Carlton

Gold Coast SUNS v Footscray

Nth Melbourne v Essendon

Coburg v Geelong

Port Melbourne v Werribee

Aspley v Williamstown

Frankston v Sandringham

Southport v Northern Bullants

 

Byes: GWS Giants, Sydney Swans, Brisbane Lions, Richmond

 

ROUND 15 – 24 & 25 July

Box Hill v Brisbane Lions

Gold Coast SUNS v Casey Demons

Essendon v GWS GIANTS

Carlton v Nth Melbourne

Footscray v Port Melbourne

Geelong v Richmond

Southport v Werribee

Williamstown v Sandringham

Collingwood v Aspley

 

Byes: Sydney, Coburg, Northern Bullants, Frankston

 

Kayo Community Round
Round 16 – 31 Jul – 1 Aug

Casey Demons v Footscray

Frankston v Richmond

Gold Coast SUNS v Brisbane Lions

Nth Melbourne v Geelong

Aspley v GWS GIANTS

Port Melbourne v Collingwood

Sandringham v Carlton

Coburg v Southport

Essendon v Sydney Swans

Williamstown v Box Hill

Werribee v Northern Bullants

 

Byes: None

 

ROUND 17 – 7 & 8 Aug

Box Hill v Collingwood

Richmond v Nth Melbourne

Southport v Frankston

Sydney Swans v Sandringham

Werribee v Port Melbourne

Coburg v Williamstown

Brisbane Lions v Northern Bullants

Casey Demons v Carlton

 

Byes: Gold Coast SUNS, Aspley, Geelong, GWS GIANTS, Essendon, Footscray

 

ROUND 18 – 14 & 15 Aug

Brisbane Lions v Collingwood

Gold Coast SUNS v Essendon

Northern Bullants v Port Melbourne

GWS GIANTS v Richmond

Geelong v Sandringham

Coburg v Werribee

Williamstown v Casey Demons

Footscray v Aspley

Carlton v Sydney Swans

 

Byes: Frankston, Nth Melbourne, Southport, Box Hill

 

ROUND 19 – 21 & 22 Aug

Essendon v Collingwood

Aspley v Gold Coast SUNS

Carlton v GWS GIANTS

Northern Bullants v Casey Demons

Port Melbourne v Geelong

Richmond v Box Hill

Sandringham v Footscray

Brisbane Lions v Southport

Coburg v Sydney Swans

Frankston v Werribee

Nth Melbourne v Williamstown

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