Tag: COVID-19

Revised fixture for Rounds Six and Seven of the 2020 Toyota Premiership Season

The AFL has today announced a revised fixture for Rounds Six and Seven of the 2020 Toyota Premiership Season.

Round Five will continue as fixtured and Victorian based clubs will fly out at the conclusion the round with all 10 Victorian-based teams to be temporarily relocated to other states across the country.

The amendment to the fixture has been made based on relevant State Government and Medical officer advice to firstly ensure the safety of not only the clubs, players, officials and the wider community, but also to provide certainty to clubs and fans on the next block of games.

The temporary relocation of all 10 Victorian-based teams out of the state will see them move to bases in Queensland, NSW and WA where they will undergo the various quarantine regimes while also continuing to adhere to the strict protocols the AFL has in place.

AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan said the announcement today was the next step as the AFL continued to make the necessary changes to navigate the impact of Covid-19 on the 2020 Toyota AFL Premiership season.

“The health and safety of our people and the wider community is paramount.  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.”

“The Victorian clubs now temporarily moving interstate are playing their part in ensuring our season endures in a year that will continue to challenge us all.”

I have also often talked about the need for us to continue to be flexible and agile. As situations change across Australia so has our response. And it will continue to do so.”

Revised fixture for Rounds Six and Seven of the 2020 Toyota Premiership Season

Round Six
Geelong Cats vs. Brisbane Lions SCG (SEVEN) 7:40pm 7:40pm
Collingwood vs. Hawthorn Giants Stadium (SEVEN) 7:50pm 7:50pm
Fremantle vs. St Kilda Metricon Stadium (FOX) 12:35pm 12:35pm
West Coast Eagles vs. Adelaide Crows The Gabba (FOX) 3:05pm 3:05pm
Melbourne vs. Gold Coast SUNS Giants Stadium (FOX) 6:05pm 6:05pm
Essendon vs. North Melbourne Metricon Stadium (SEVEN) 7:40pm 7:40pm
Port Adelaide vs. GWS GIANTS Metricon Stadium (FOX) 1:05pm 1:05pm
Richmond vs. Sydney Swans The Gabba (SEVEN) 3:35pm 3:35pm
Carlton vs Western Bulldogs Metricon Stadium (FOX) 6:45pm 6:45pm
Round Seven
Geelong Cats vs. Collingwood Optus Stadium (SEVEN) 8:10pm 6:10pm
Essendon vs. Western Bulldogs Metricon Stadium (SEVEN) 7:50pm 7:50pm
GWS GIANTS vs. Brisbane Lions Giants Stadium (FOX) 1:45pm 1:45pm
Sydney Swans vs. Gold Coast SUNS SCG (FOX) 4:35pm 4:35pm
Richmond vs. North Melbourne Metricon Stadium (SEVEN) 7:40pm 7:40pm
Carlton vs. Port Adelaide The Gabba (FOX) 1:05pm 1:05pm
Hawthorn vs. Melbourne Giants Stadium (SEVEN) 3:35pm 3:35pm
Fremantle vs. West Coast Eagles Optus Stadium (FOX) 6:35pm 4:35pm
Adelaide Crows vs. St Kilda Adelaide Oval (FOX) 7:40pm 7:10pm

The Round 6 and 7 fixtures will be amended on this site later today.

Source: AFL Media Release.

Where to now for the AFL?

As I understand it, the AFL are waiting on announcements from Victoria and NSW as to their plan for removing COVID-19 restrictions. The other thing to consider is all the States agreeing to open their borders to allow the players to travel to their matches.

A friend of mine messaged me during the week. He had the view that the premier players in the competition such as Fyfe, Dangerfield, Martin, Grundy, Franklin etc. need to be enthusiastic about the prospect of “player hubs” and they should back the idea. If the alternative is that there is no football in 2020, then the players should not be paid. I think that that may be fine for the well established players, but what about the players in the early stages of their careers who don’t earn anywhere near the amount of money those players (quite rightly) command?

I have no doubt that it would be tough to spend 3 to 4 months away from your home, your family, and your friends. These are very different times and we are all sacrificing some of our usual lifestyle and living outside of our comfort zones. There are some people have lost their jobs or their businesses as a result of the restrictions who would welcome the opportunity to work again under almost any circumstances. FIFO workers are familiar for the requirement of having to fly out to a remote site and work there in isolation for several weeks on end. Put quite simply, it’s their job. AFL players are no different, if they don’t want to work, that’s fine. It is totally their decision. However, if they make that decision, then they can’t expect full pay for not ‘reporting for duty’.

If some players decided not to participate in the player hubs, they would remain ‘suspended’ for the 2020 season. A solution then may be for the AFL to agree to use top-up players as they did at Essendon when the bulk of their list were suspended for 12 months not long ago. Who knows? There may be more AFL ready players discovered such as Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti who was placed onto Essendon’s list as a top-up player. It would also unfair it the players who refused to play were permitted to take part finals. To me, you’re either in or you’re out.

I subscribe to the idea that there will be a player hub established. Where it’s located, nobody can be sure but given that NRL will base themselves in NSW, I’d rule out that State and look further north to Queensland. In my mind, the AFL will have one eye on promoting the game in that State while making this decision. Teams will go into full training for 3 weeks (that should meet their quarantine requirement) so we could see matches played without crowds commencing around mid-June. In my opinion, matches will likely be scheduled on every day of the week with players looking at a minimum 4 or 5 day break between matches.