Victoria hopes AFL games will continue ‘sooner rather than later’ as round 13 fixture confirmed

Samantha Rogers, Jon Ralph and Marc McGowanHerald Sun
The Victorian Government is hopeful football will soon return to the State.
Camera IconThe Victorian Government is hopeful football will soon return to the State. Credit: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

The Victorian Government expect AFL games to return to Victoria “sooner rather than later” as WA prepares to host another blockbuster weekend of back-to-back footy.

The AFL confirmed changes to the fixture ahead of round 13, with Fremantle and West Coast both still set to play at Optus Stadium this weekend.

The Dockers clash with Gold Coast on Saturday has remained unchanged, while the Eagles’ blockbuster game with Richmond, which was brought forward from round 14, will go ahead on Sunday at 5.20pm.

Port Adelaide will face Geelong at Adelaide Oval on Thursday night. The Cats will fly-in and fly-out for that match.

Hawthorn’s Friday night clash with Sydney Swans will be played at the SCG as planned.

St Kilda will play Adelaide Crows at Cazalys Stadium in Cairns on Saturday Night. They will remain in hotel quarantine after the game and will board a private charter flight back to Melbourne.

North Melbourne and GWS Giants’ match at Blundstone Area in Tasmania will proceed as planned. The Kangaroos will be fly-in and fly-out for that match but GWS are free to travel as normal from Sydney.


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Collingwood’s Queen’s Birthday clash with Melbourne has been moved from the MCG to the SCG on Monday afternoon.

It comes as the Victorian State Government admitted crowds would be unlikely to return to 85 per cent capacity and 100 per cent capacity soon.

Tourism, Sport and Major Events Minister Martin Pakula on Tuesday morning said he expected the games would continue in Victoria “sooner rather than later”.

“Once restrictions are eased, then we will go back into the public events framework,” Mr Pakula said.

“The AFL will make some decisions about what it is they want, and that will be assessed by the public health team in the same way that it was before the outbreak.”

But Mr Pakula warned it was unlikely for the previous crowd capacity of 85 per cent to return immediately.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 28: Dustin Martin of the Tigers celebrates a goal  during the round 2 AFL match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Richmond Tigers at Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 28, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)
Camera IconWest Coast will face an in-form Richmond at Optus Stadium this weekend. Credit: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

“All going well with the epidemiology and infection rates, we’ll see crowds gradually increase,” he said.

Mr Pakula wouldn’t provide any reassurance that lockdown would end on Friday as originally planned, despite Victoria recording “encouraging” case numbers on Monday and Tuesday.

“I’m not going to pre-empt or give any clues about what the thinking of public health is. It’s a day by day proposition,” he said.

“We’ll continue to assess that between now and when the decision point is, which will be on Wednesday or Thursday.”

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