AFL boss Gil McLachlan has been in consultation with all state governments, premiers, and medical officers about a return date, which could be as early as mid-June with 16 rounds and the Grand Final at the end of October. The league wants to do everything possible to conclude the season before the horseracing season which commences soon after the Grand Final under normal circumstances.
The prospect of hubs in their full capacity is looking more unlikely. The season could resemble the traditional format with a few exceptions. Fremantle and West Coast, both of whom oppose hubs as an option, ironically could be forced to play "home" games in other states due to West Australia's strict border restrictions. So far, the clubs have not had success convincing the WA state government to ease those restrictions.
According to the Herald Sun, clubs hope to return to training as soon as May 18th with a season start in late June. Finals would start immediately after the final round without a bye week. Matches on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and an occasional Monday game would satisfy broadcasters as well as the league.
As for the VFL secondary and NAB junior leagues, there is the possibility of a merger. Both have had little communication with AFL but have been presenting ideas of their own, according to Herald Sun reporter Jon Ralph. Also, according to Ralph, the merger has gained traction with both leagues. In a TV interview, he surmised, “They would take the best of the under 18 kids in Victoria and they would play those non-AFL teams and they would play on free-to-air [broadcasts], potentially 10 rounds, it would get the best and the brightest and the older blokes on show for the national draft ... A lot of talk about a national reserves league, [but] that will not happen, it’s too expensive ... ". Ralph also said that some clubs like the idea of a permanent merger between the NAB and VFL, saying, "... it would cut the duplication of the staff, it would mean the same coaches would coach both the young kids coming through and the 23-year-olds..."
Source: foxsports.com.au, Herald Sun
Article last changed on Sunday, May 10, 2020 - 2:23 PM EDT