You bloody RIPPER, footy’s officially on the way back. Footy. FOOTY. FOOT-EE.

After shutting down due to the coronavirus pandemic after the end of Round One in March, the AFL is now set to officially return to action on Thursday, June 11th.

The league’s official website reports that all 18 clubs were informed of the return to play plan this morning, which AFL CEO Gil McLachlan will publicly confirm in a press conference shortly.

As part of arrangements to get season 2020 back underway, West Coast, Fremantle, Adelaide, and Port Adelaide will relocate to the Gold Coast and enter a temporary pandemic hub, based out of golf resorts in the area. This is due to the South Australian and Western Australian state governments refusing to allow special permission for eastern state teams to fly in/fly out for games, meaning arriving teams would have been forced to enter a 14-day quarantine before being cleared to play.

Those four teams will re-open the season in a series of matches against Brisbane and the Gold Coast. The Victorian and NSW based teams are free to travel between states without quarantine requirements.

The league has completely torn apart the pre-existing season roster, reducing the overall length of the season to 17 matches per team. The first stages of the new fixture will be released by AFL officials early next week.

In addition to that, the AFL is set to permit teams to return to full contact group training from May 25th. Non-contact training will be allowed from Monday.

As with round one, no crowds will be permitted at the games for the foreseeable future.

Honestly, I take back every ill word I spoke about footy without crowds. I’m just so happy – SO HAPPY – footy’s coming back. Give me footy. I miss it so much.

Image: Getty Images / Michael Wilson