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Pies, Tigers set to reopen season in blockbuster Thursday clash

Collingwood midfielder Adam Treloar is in doubt for that game, in what is one of few injury queries for either of those clubs, which have been the best performed Victorian clubs over the past two seasons.

The Tigers have a virtually full list to pick from, at this stage, though the clubs do not begin full-contact training and match simulation drills until next week.

By fixturing the Showdown on the weekend when football returns, following a hiatus of nearly three months, the AFL will allow the Adelaide clubs to remain in South Australia for longer, avoiding an earlier relocation to their hub on the Gold Coast, where the AFL has planned to send them for the opening four weeks along with West Coast and Fremantle.

The SA Premier Steven Marshall called AFL boss Gillon McLachlan earlier this week, requesting that the Showdown remain in Adelaide for round two, a position that is backed by Adelaide and Port as a way to give them a longer stint at home. While there are hopes that those clubs might not have to go to the Gold Coast hub at all, there is not yet any indication that the SA government will ease its border restrictions to the point that scenario eventuates.

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The AFL’s free-to-air broadcaster, Seven, will be delighted with a Collingwood-Richmond return, which is certain to be a ratings winner, the network having wanted a big bang in the return round.

While there will be a blockbuster in Melbourne on the Thursday and a Showdown expected over the weekend of round two, there will not be a West Coast v Fremantle “derby”.

Most likely the Eagles will play their first game of the reopened season on the Gold Coast against either the Brisbane Lions or the Gold Coast Suns, since the SA teams are expected to remain in Adelaide.

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