The AFL has announced a revised draw for the next two weeks of the competition, with the COVID-19 spike forcing all 10 Victorian teams to be relocated interstate.
The clubs will leave Victoria following the conclusion of this weekend’s matches.
The 10 clubs will move to bases in Queensland, NSW and Western Australia, where they will serve the required quarantine periods while also adhering to the AFL’s coronavirus protocols.
The clubs will be split into four hubs, with St Kilda and Carlton based in Noosa, Richmond, Western Bulldogs, North Melbourne and Essendon on the Gold Coast, Melbourne and Hawthorn in Sydney, and Collingwood and Geelong in Perth.
“The health and safety of our people and the wider community is paramount,” AFL boss Gillon McLachlan said.
“We will continue to make decisions that are anchored in the advice of Governments and designed to protect our people and the wider community.
“I have said on a number of occasions that this would be a season of challenges. And that the one certainty is that before we completed the 2020 Toyota AFL premiership season there would be more unique challenges along the way.
“I want to thank the Governments in NSW, Queensland and WA for their support in helping us set up a series of high-performance centres that will see interstate teams based in their state in accordance with all the strict local protocols and playing games.
“I would also like to thank all of our clubs, players, coaches, umpires and officials for their continued support and ability to adapt quickly as we navigate through the changing environment.”
It’s understood the Victorian clubs could return home later in the season if the outbreak in Melbourne is under control, but the Queensland government is ready to go one step further.
“Essentially, Queensland is going to be the home of the AFL, they should give us the grand final after this,” premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
“Four teams are going to be on the Gold Coast and two on the Sunshine Coast.
“There will be a lot more matches at the Gabba and Metricon and of course our capacity is 50 per cent of the public being able to go see these sports stars in action.
“(They’ll be here) for the rest of the season is my understanding.”
Revised draw – Round Six (all times EST):
Geelong vs Brisbane – Thursday 7:40pm – SCG
Collingwood vs Hawthorn – Friday 7:50pm – Giants Stadium
Fremantle vs St Kilda – Saturday 12:35pm – Metricon Stadium
West Coast vs Adelaide – Saturday 3:05pm – Gabba
Melbourne vs Gold Coast – Saturday 6:05pm – Giants Stadium
Essendon vs North Melbourne – Saturday 7:40pm – Metricon Stadium
Port Adelaide vs GWS – Sunday 1:05pm – Metricon Stadium
Richmond vs Sydney – Sunday 3:35pm – Gabba
Carlton vs Western Bulldogs – Sunday 6:45pm – Metricon Stadium
Geelong vs Collingwood – Thursday 8:10pm – Optus Stadium
Essendon vs Western Bulldogs – Friday 7:50pm – Metricon Stadium
GWS vs Brisbane – Saturday 1:45pm – Giants Stadium
Sydney vs Gold Coast – Saturday 4:35pm – SCG
Richmond vs North Melbourne – Saturday 7:40pm – Metricon Stadium
Carlton vs Port Adelaide – Sunday 1:05pm – Gabba
Hawthorn vs Melbourne – Sunday 3:35pm – Giants Stadium
Fremantle vs West Coast – Sunday 6:35pm – Optus Stadium
Adelaide vs St Kilda – Monday 7:40pm – Adelaide Oval