After last week’s announcement by AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan that the 2020 season would resume on June 11th, the League revealed the schedule for Rounds 2-5 on Monday afternoon (AEST). As widely expected, Richmond and Collingwood would kick off Round 2 on Thursday, June 11th, followed by Geelong hosting Hawthorn on Friday night, June 12th, the first time since round 3, 2006, that the two teams will clash at the Cats’ home ground of GMHBA Stadium.
Brisbane and Fremantle will meet at the Gabba on Saturday June 13th, followed by Carlton and Melbourne at Marvel Stadium. On Saturday night, Gold Coast will host West Coast while Adelaide will take on Port Adelaide in the Showdown at Adelaide Oval, before the two teams relocate their operation bases to the Gold Coast. The Showdown game was made possible after the South Australian Government allowed Crows and Port players to complete full contact training at home. Because there are currently no senior field umpires based in Adelaide, four umpires will fly into the city this week to undergo 14 days of quarantine before the game.
On Sunday June 14th, there will be two games in Sydney – the Swans hosting Essendon before GWS face North Melbourne at Giants Stadium. The round concludes with St Kilda and Western Bulldogs meeting at Marvel Stadium, marking the return of Sunday night games in Melbourne after a six-year absence. The absence of crowds and shorter quarters mean the twilight game on Sunday has been pushed back to 6.05 PM AEST (4.05 AM US EDT) so there is no overlap. There will be a Sunday night game each week in the next four rounds, before the AFL decides whether to schedule more games in the time slot based on TV ratings. Otherwise, each round generally consists of Thursday and Friday night games, a Saturday afternoon game, a Saturday twilight game, two Saturday night games, two Sunday afternoon games and the Sunday early evening 6.05 PM AEST game.
During the next four Rounds, Adelaide, Fremantle, Port Adelaide and West Coast will all “host” one game while based in southeast Queensland. Gold Coast’s Metricon Stadium will host two double-headers, with two matches scheduled there on the same day in both round 3 and round 4. Geelong is a big winner in the revamped schedule, playing three home games against Hawthorn, Carlton and Gold Coast at GMHBA Stadium.
AFL General Manager of Clubs and Broadcasting, Travis Auld, said the first block of games had been scheduled on the basis that fans would not be able to attend. He said the League would “continue to be adaptable with our scheduling, ensuring our fixtures align with the relevant state government restrictions in place at the time … we are looking forward to matches getting underway and supporters being able to watch their clubs and players in action again." Auld said that the schedule for rounds 6 and 7 is expected to be revealed at the conclusion of round 3 in order to allow for changes in COVID-19 related restrictions later in the year, including the possibility of South Australia, Western Australia, and Queensland opening their state borders.
Sources: afl.com.au, ABC, foxsports.com.au, theage.com.au
Article last changed on Tuesday, May 26, 2020 - 1:05 PM EDT