'Better solution': AFL fixture already plunged into chaos

Australian Associated Press
·3-min read
The AFL may have to re-think the round one fixture with WA still imposing a 14-day quarantine period on arrivals from Victoria, after the state recorded two cases of coronavirus on Friday. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
The AFL may have to re-think the round one fixture with WA still imposing a 14-day quarantine period on arrivals from Victoria, after the state recorded two cases of coronavirus on Friday. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

The AFL fixture could be thrown into chaos unless Western Australian premier Mark McGowan backs down on his strict border stance.

The league has committed to an unchanged opening round starting March 18, but beyond that could prove difficult given West Coast and Fremantle will both play early games in Victoria.

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The Dockers will tackle Melbourne at the MCG in round one, while the Eagles are due to play the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium the following weekend.

Victoria, which on Friday recorded two new COVID-19 cases, is the only state still subject to any WA border restrictions.

AFL fixture boss Travis Auld concedes there may need to be alterations to the draw to fall in line with WA health advice.

"The challenge will be Fremantle coming to Victoria to play Melbourne," Auld told reporters on Friday.

"It presents an issue as it stands for Fremantle going back to WA, they would have to quarantine (for 14 days).

"Clearly we have to work with those clubs and the WA government to see if there is a better solution without compromising the health of the community."

McGowan is due to front the media about upcoming state election later on Friday and could be asked about the AFL's predicament.

AFL to host largest Victorian crowd in 12 months

AFL powerhouse Richmond will unfurl two premiership flags in front of 50,000 people at the MCG with the Victorian government increasing the capacity of spectator numbers at sporting events.

The Tigers, who have won the last two AFL premierships, will play in front of a crowd in Victoria for the first time since their 2019 grand final triumph when they battle Carlton in round one on March 18.

It will be the biggest crowd at an event in Victoria since 86,174 people watched the women's Twenty20 World Cup final at the MCG last March, which took place only days before the COVID-19 pandemic first changed the way of life in Australia.

Richmond are yet to announce their plans for their opening-round clash, but AAP understands the Tigers will unveil their 2019 and 2020 flags.

A crowd of up to 50,000 people will be allowed to attend the AFL's round one match at the MCG between Richmond and Carlton. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/AFL Photos/via Getty Images )
A crowd of up to 50,000 people will be allowed to attend the AFL's round one match at the MCG between Richmond and Carlton. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/AFL Photos/via Getty Images )

AFL boss Gillon McLachlan has thanked Victorian premier Daniel Andrews for allowing fans back to the football.

"Footy fans in Victoria have been excited about getting back to matches and we have seen that with great numbers across the opening rounds of the AFLW season," McLachlan said.

"We haven't had footy crowds this big in Victoria since the match to support bushfire relief in February last year, so this announcement provides a big boost for our players and fans.

"Our team has been working extensively behind the scenes planning for multiple scenarios and all our venues will be ready to welcome fans back into the stands come next month."

Andrews has also announced up to 28,961 patrons - 50 per cent of capacity - will be able to attend Marvel Stadium, starting from Thursday night's pre-season match between Carlton and St Kilda.

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