That will still happen – but it’ll be a relatively small and almost entirely neutral crowd, given the match will begin at 6.10pm local time (8.10pm AEST) on Thursday, August 13 in Perth.
“Unprecedented times delivers us an unprecedented fixture for the next block of games. This is giving fans a unique opportunity to watch footy in a way we couldn’t normally produce,” AFL general manager of clubs and broadcasting Travis Auld said.
“We have taken the opportunity to compress the season as the feedback from clubs is that while they are in a hub environment, there was a desire to play more games in a shorter period of time, and in turn we can effectively complete the season in a quicker format.”
The Sydney teams will stay on in Perth after the derby to complete other fixtures. While the Swans have already faced the West Coast Eagles, GWS are yet to meet either of the WA sides.
The Swans and Giants have played the majority of their matches to date in Sydney, so sending them west for games is a way for the AFL to bring a slight degree of fairness back to a hugely compromised season.
It also gives the AFL a chance to escape further hiccups in NSW if the recent spread of COVID-19 infections worsens.
Both Sydney teams will play in Queensland in rounds nine and 10, and will travel north on the day of the game.
Friday night’s clash between GWS and Richmond, and Saturday’s Swans versus Hawthorn showdown, will be the last chance for Sydney-based fans to see their teams in the flesh for the time being.
SYDNEY’S NEXT FIVE ROUNDS (all times AEST)
Round 8: Richmond – Giants Stadium, Friday July 24, 7.50pm
Round 9: St Kilda – Gabba, Saturday August 1, 5.10pm
Round 10: Collingwood – Gabba, Thursday August 6, 5.40pm
Round 11: Bye
Round 12: GWS – Optus Stadium, Thursday August 13, 8.10pm
GWS’S NEXT FIVE ROUNDS (all times AEST)
Round 8: Hawthorn – SCG, Saturday July 25, 3.35pm
Round 9: Gold Coast – Metricon Stadium, Sunday August 2, 3.35pm
Round 10: Essendon – Metricon Stadium, Friday August 7, 7.50pm
Round 11: Bye
Round 12: Sydney – Optus Stadium, Thursday August 13, 8.10pm
Vince is a sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.