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AFL to give Sunday night matches another try

Rounds two to five this year will also include a Thursday night game, one Friday night game, one on Saturday afternoon, a Saturday twilight fixture, two games on Saturday night and two on Sunday afternoon.

And the AFL has left the door open for a potential return of crowds in some capacity – if it’s allowed by the health authorities.

“Any opportunity to have fans attend games … we’ll certainly embrace,” league fixture boss Travis Auld said on Monday.

AFL fixtures boss Travis Auld has announced a new Sunday night timeslot.

AFL fixtures boss Travis Auld has announced a new Sunday night timeslot.Credit:Chris Hopkins

Hawthorn will travel to Geelong to play at GMHBA Stadium for the first time in nearly 15 years in round two, while Adelaide and Port Adelaide will face off in a round two Showdown in South Australia before relocating to the Gold Coast.

West Coast, Fremantle and the two South Australian clubs will all have to play one home game at Metricon Stadium, with reigning premiers Richmond travelling north to face the Eagles in round five.

As revealed in The Age last week, reigning premiers Richmond will restart the season against arch-rivals Collingwood at the MCG on Thusday, June 11.

That will be followed by another fierce rivalry, with last year’s grand finalists Greater Western Sydney travelling to Melbourne to take on the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium.

“To relaunch the season we have focused on scheduling blockbuster match-ups across these four weeks, particularly in the Thursday and Friday night primetime slots,” Auld said.

“As we navigate through the remaining 108 games, plus finals, we will continue to be adaptable with our scheduling, ensuring our fixtures align with the relevant state government restrictions in place at the time.”

Marvel Stadium roof to remain closed

Auld also said he was confident the government would allow Marvel Stadium to be an indoor venue for the forseeable future.

The AFL has sought special permission from health authorities to allow Marvel Stadium’s roof to remain closed when the season resumes.

The roof had to remain open for round one, to help the AFL constitute the stadium as an outdoor venue.

The stadium’s infamous roof had remained closed on a permanent basis prior to round one, after complaints from fans, players and broadcasters that leaving it open made for poor conditions because of the glare of the sun.

“That is a big win if that becomes the case, certainly throughout this winter period that we’re looking at,” Auld said.

“It would provide better conditions for our players. My understanding is that we’ve had really positive discussions about it, I don’t know if it’s actually been finalised yet but my view is it’s certainly looking very likely.”

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