The GWS Giants’ bid to play their home game against Richmond at Marvel Stadium looks set to be granted, while Collingwood could head into isolation on Thursday for their Saturday night game against Brisbane at the Gabba.
The AFL and state governments have been working together behind the scenes to shape the fixture for round 22, the penultimate round of the season, with a picture emerging of how the weekends’ matches could take place.
Separately, the AFL grand final parade also won’t take place this year because of the pandemic. It is usually held the day before the grand final. The league’s ‘footy festival’ – held before the grand final – has also been canned.
“We are really saddened that we are unable to deliver footy fans two of our annual lead-up events to the grand final,” the AFL’s boss of customer and commercial Kylie Rogers said.
“We have explored every avenue, but anything that involves a parade is difficult to deliver under the current challenges that are associated with the pandemic in the community.”
Slated times, venues and dates for round 22 are all based off what industry sources currently understand the preferred fixture plan to be as of Tuesday afternoon, with the fluid pandemic situation able to alter such plans at short notice.
Richmond and GWS’ race for eighth spot will re-commence on Friday at Marvel, the Giants seemingly successful in avoiding having to play a home game at Richmond’s home ground the MCG. Marvel is of course is the ground the Tigers were openly critical of earlier this season.
Meanwhile, the Pies could head into hotels on Thursday night to isolate, fly to Brisbane on Friday and then remain isolated – except to train – before they play the Lions at the Gabba on Saturday night. Brisbane came out of lockdown earlier this week, so the Pies will live largely under Victorian restrictions if in Queensland. The Queensland government need to give final approval for this arrangement.
Plans are currently that Hawthorn will head back to Tasmania after their MCG match last weekend. Alastair Clarkson’s second last game in charge will be against his former assistant Luke Beveridge and the Western Bulldogs in Launceston early on Saturday afternoon, again pending final Tasmanian government approval.