THE AFL remains committed to crowning both VFL and VFLW premiers for season 2021.
COVID-19 lockdowns across the country are causing a challenge to the fixturing of the VFL season, but the competition will resume as soon as permitted – starting with three games in Queensland this weekend.
Premiership contenders Southport will host Essendon, with the Bombers’ squad having remained in Queensland for its AFL commitments, while finals contender GWS will take on the Brisbane Lions and Aspley will play Gold Coast.
There is also a strong commitment to complete the rebel VFLW Preliminary and Grand Finals, with defending premier Collingwood, Essendon and Geelong remaining in contention to take out the flag.
The latest lockdown means the rebel VFLW Grand Final cannot be played before the AFLW Draft, which is set down for next Tuesday, July 27, and the AFL has written to all AFLW clubs to declare that any player drafted must be allowed and encouraged to complete the VFLW season before joining their new team.
AFL Head of Talent Pathways and State League Competitions Tristan Salter said the fixture would continue to be a week-by-week proposition, with future match-ups likely to change.
"The AFL is committed to playing as many games as possible and confirming a finals series for the best performing teams to award a premiership," Salter said.
"The health and safety of the community remains the highest priority and we acknowledge the role the VFL and VFLW plays in keeping our community safe.
"We will continue to liaise with all clubs and make decisions that ensure the season can progress when it is safe to do so.
"A fair balance of home versus away games and match-ups is a challenge for the remainder of the season, but the priority is to play matches.
"A number of scenarios are on the table and we are working with all clubs to deliver a season and play a Grand Final."
There were six rounds still to be played when Victoria headed back into lockdown last week, with Tuesday’s extension meaning there would again be no matches in the state this weekend.
Salter said the focus was on playing as many home-and-away games as possible before starting a finals series and rewarding the best team with the 2021 VFL premiership.
If the finals were to remain four weeks in duration, there would be five weeks at most to get each club to the same number of games, which looks more likely to be reduced further to 12 or 13 given seven clubs have still only played eight matches this season.
Salter said there had not been any discussions on how the 2022 season would look, with the priority being to complete the 2021 competition.
Saturday, July 24
Aspley v Gold Coast SUNS at Graham Rd, 11am AEST
Sunday, July 25
Southport v Essendon at Fankhauser Reserve, 12pm AEST
GWS GIANTS v Brisbane at Council Training Oval, Metricon Stadium, 12.30pm AEST
VFL MATCHES COMPLETED
10 – Frankston, GWS, Sydney
9 – Aspley, Box Hill Hawks, Brisbane Lions, Coburg, Essendon, Footscray, Geelong, Gold Coast, North Melbourne, Northern Bullants, Richmond, Southport
8 – Carlton, Casey Demons, Collingwood, Port Melbourne, Sandringham, Werribee, Williamstown
Keep track of your VFL team via our all new VFL Match Centre, which features live scores, team and player stats, match timeline, events summary and even Fantasy points. Check it out here.
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