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Round 17 clash ‘likely’ to be moved as fixture carnage unfolds on chaotic day

Round 17 clash ‘likely’ to be moved as fixture carnage unfolds on chaotic day

Round 16 fixture changes have been made after WA and QLD announced snap lockdowns.

Nearly all of the league’s 18 clubs could be in Victoria soon.

Follow all the latest coronavirus-affected AFL news in our rolling updates below.

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Round 16




Gold Coast and GWS’ Round 17 clash is “likely” to be moved to Ballarat, reports The Age.

It comes as the AFL looks to keep the season afloat amid Covid spot fires around the country causing several fixture changes.

The Suns on Tuesday joined the Giants in Victoria after Queensland announced a snap lockdown. The Giants-Suns clash is currently scheduled to be played at Giants Stadium, however, is set to be moved with Sydney in a strict two-week lockdown.

As a result, Gold Coast will host its upcoming Thursday night clash against Richmond at Marvel Stadium.

“It’s really hard to know what is ahead,” AFL executive manager Travis Auld said on Tuesday.

“Our intention is to keep moving teams around as we have to, but to get them home as soon as we can.”


Thursday night’s clash between Gold Coast and Richmond at 7:20pm has officially been moved from Metricon Stadium to Marvel Stadium.

AFL executive manager Travis Auld confirmed the change on Tuesday afternoon, also revealing that the Fremantle-Carlton clash is set to be played in either Launceston or Geelong.

Dockers CEO Simon Garlick confirmed that the game would be moved from Optus Stadium in a letter to members earlier in the day.

It comes as 16 of the 18 teams relocate to Victoria amid travel complications around the country due to Covid restrictions.


Fremantle CEO Simon Garlick has confirmed that the club’s clash with Carlton on Saturday night will be moved from Optus Stadium.

The Dockers joined the Eagles in flying out from Western Australia on Tuesday on as the state goes into a snap-four day lockdown.

The Age reported that the Dockers-Blues clash could be moved to Tasmania as the AFL tries to navigate its fixture through the Covid chaos.

“This is a note I was hoping I wouldn’t have to send, but given the lack of certainty in WA, our home game against Carlton on Saturday will now take place at an interstate venue, with the team flying out to Melbourne this afternoon where they will test and isolate until they return a negative result,” Garlick said in a statement on the club website.

“These decisions are not made lightly and I want to acknowledge the disappointment it will bring to our passionate members and supporters who can no longer be there to cheer us on this weekend.”

Dockers finish fast to beat Pies
Dockers finish fast to beat Pies | 01:40


The AFL is reportedly considering moving the Fremantle-Carlton clash from Optus Stadium to Tasmania and Gold Coast-Richmond game from Metricon Stadium to Victoria, reports The Age.

Several Round 16 fixture changes loom amid a chaotic period for the AFL due to travel disruptions caused by Covid restrictions.

The Dockers and Suns both flew out of their respective states on Tuesday for Victoria, with Queensland entering a snap lockdown and Western Australia already restricted.

The Gold Coast-Richmond clash is reportedly expected to be played at Marvel Stadium or GMHBA Stadium.

Victoria recorded zero new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.


West Coast players and staff are reportedly preparing to be on the road for up to a month as Western Australia goes into a snap four-day lockdown.

The Eagles flew to Victoria today to host the Sydney Swans at GMHBA Stadium on Sunday.

7 News’ Ryan Daniels reports that that the club is hoping it will only be on the road for a week, but have been told it could last a month.


West Coast Eagles CEO Trevor Nisbett has asked club members to forgo a credit for last week’s game against the Western Bulldogs at Optus Stadium in a bit to “assist the club (financially) through this period of uncertainty.”

Crowds for Sunday’s home game were scrapped just hours before the Eagles took to the ground given the developing COVID-19 situation in the state.

It was the second home game the Eagles have had with no crowd this year, which Nisbett says has the potential to derail the club’s finances.

In a letter to members on Monday night, Nisbett asked fans to consider the club before requesting credit.

“I understand that our club is perceived as being among the more wealthy in the competition; however, these are significant losses and have the potential to impact the financial sustainability of the club in the longer term,” he wrote.

The Eagles will touchdown in Victoria on Tuesday ahead of a game against Sydney, to be played at GMHBA Stadium in Geelong.


Fremantle will join the West Coast Eagles in travelling to Victoria today, with its Optus Stadium game against Carlton in Round 16 almost certainly set to be relocated.

West Coast’s Round 15 game against the Western Bulldogs had crowds scrapped mere hours before the bounce, with Optus Stadium patrons turned away after WA’s latest snap lockdown.

The Eagles will play Sydney at GMHBA Stadium in Geelong this week.


The Gold Coast Suns will join Brisbane in heading to Melbourne after Queensland announced a snap three-day lockdown after two new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the state overnight.

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the snap lockdown just hours after Brisbane Lions players were told to pack their bags and head to Melbourne as soon as possible.

The Suns will arrive in Melbourne today and is all but certain to have its clash against Richmond moved from Metricon Stadium to Melbourne.


North Melbourne players and staff have all returned negative COVID-19 test results after being in Melbourne Airport at the same time as a COVID-positive airline crew member.

Terminal 3 at Melbourne Airport was listed as a Tier 2 exposure site after a Virgin Australia crew member worked on five interstate flights while unknowingly infectious with the virus.

All players and staff who went through the terminal were advised to isolate, get tested and await a negative COVID-19 test result.

It means the club can resume training today ahead of its Round 16 game against the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium this Sunday.

Cripps ran HOW far?!
Cripps ran HOW far?! | 00:24


The AFL’s hopes for an 85 per cent crowd threshold at Victorian venues this week could be dashed, with reports Geelong are expecting the limit to fall somewhere closer to 50 per cent for Round 16.

Last week, the Victorian government announced that, “subject to public health advice”, indoor and outdoor stadiums would be able to increase to 85 per cent capacity from the start of July.

Despite this, The Age reports the Cats, while expecting the figure to rise from the current 25 per cent, are planning for the new limit to be nearer to half of venue capacity.

After becoming a footy wasteland in 2020, Victoria looms as the safe haven of choice for the AFL as COVID-19 cases flare across much of the country.


The Brisbane Lions have reportedly been told to prepare for a flight to Melbourne as soon as possible in the hopes the side will get the all clear to fly to Adelaide for its Round 16 game against the Crows.

Reports emerged on Tuesday the Lions had been given the news as Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said south-east Queensland was “on the verge” of a lockdown after new cases emerged.

Victoria recorded zero new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

Herald Sun reporter Jon Ralph told Fox Footy on Monday night the Lions were preparing to fly to Melbourne on Wednesday, before plans were fast-tracked on Tuesday morning.

“Moving Brisbane to Melbourne helps smooth the path to Adelaide, but the AFL says it’s also about getting ahead of a potential lockdown,” Ralph told On The Couch.

“The Lions have no idea if they’re coming down to Melbourne to stay there, or if they’ll be able to get back to Brisbane after that clash against Adelaide.”

Ralph said, at this stage, Gold Coat’s Thursday night clash against Richmond at Metricon Stadium would go ahead as planned.

Round 16: The current state of play
Round 16: The current state of play | 04:21

“Suns chief executive Mark Evans tells me at the moment, the Gold Coast and Victoria are green zones, so he and the AFL expect the game to go ahead,” he said.

“Tony Cochrane tells me it might be with limited crowds, maybe half crowds, and of course masks.”

Despite many non-Victorian clubs planning to be in Melbourne by later in the week, Ralph said the AFL was “doing everything in its power to stop hubs from going ahead”.

“Paul Marsh, the AFLPA boss, says we have not have a single discussion with the AFL about a compressed fixture or those hubs. But as the AFL tells me tonight, Round 6 was a nightmare to fixture, Round 16 was an absolute nightmare, it’s even harder this week,” Ralph said.

“It’s costing them an extra $5 million per round to get all those teams across the country. Every time they fly a private jet to Melbourne from WA and back, that’s $100,000 that is gone. So the hubs can’t be any more expensive than that, if they had 18 in Victoria, and they would safeguard the competition.”

He added: “I think Round 17 is still OK, anything after that potentially – we’ll already have by the end of this weekend 15 clubs in Victoria, it’s not a big step to get 18 here.”


The AFL’s hope for Round 16 to go ahead as scheduled has hit a major hurdle, with the Western Australian government announcing a snap lockdown after a third COVID-19 case was detected in the state.

WA Premier Mark McGowan late on Monday night declared that Perth and Peel residents would enter a four-day lockdown starting Tuesday midnight after another person tested positive to the virus, specifically acquiring the highly-infectious Delta variant.

“We need to take this very seriously. We know the risk Covid presents and we know from around the world that the Delta strain is another new beast that we can’t take any chances with,” Premier McGowan said.

“We will continue to review the situation based on testing numbers and information from our contact tracing teams and provide updates when we can. We hope this will be a circuit which will give our testers and contact tracers time to nail down a picture of how far this latest outbreak has spread.”

Could the AFL explore a playing hub?
Could the AFL explore a playing hub? | 03:32

With the West Coast Eagles and Fremantle both still in Perth at the start of this week, their scheduled Round 16 matches against Sydney and Carlton respectively are now in doubt.

WA Health Minister Roger Cook said the state government still hadn’t made a call on the clubs’ next moves, stressing the permutations would all depend on what happens over the next few days.

“We’ll be monitoring the situation carefully,” Mr Cook said.

“But as we usually do, we’ll work very closely with the AFL clubs — and indeed all major sporting codes — to ensure there is as little disruption to their fixtures as possible.

“These are fairly early days in terms of this new lockdown.”

The Dockers, who are already in home quarantine after returning to Perth from Melbourne on Saturday night, are due to host Carlton at Optus Stadium on Saturday night. The Perth lockdown is scheduled to end on Friday night, but whether the Blues would even be allowed to travel in to the state for the game is uncertain.

Herald Sun reporter Jon Ralph, prior to Premier McGowan’s announcement on Monday night, flagged on Fox Footy’s On The Couch the Dockers-Blues game was “in a significant level of doubt” before he outlinined a possible back-up plan for the AFL.

Adam Cerra of the Dockers. Picture: Michael Klein
Adam Cerra of the Dockers. Picture: Michael KleinSource: News Corp Australia

“The fallback position for that contest would be GMHBA Stadium,” Ralph told On The Couch, adding there were games at the MCG and Marvel Stadium scheduled for next Saturday.

“I’ve spoken to Fremantle chief executive Simon Garlick, he says the overriding priority is to play the game there, even without crowds – but they won’t know for the next 48 hours even if that game will go ahead.”

The Eagles are due to travel to Victoria to play Sydney at GMHBA Stadium in Geelong on Sunday.

But the lockdown means the Eagles would likely need an exemption from the Victorian government to enter the state.

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