The AFL has again revised its ever-changing fixture, and will now ship all 10 Victorian-based teams out of the state for at least the next two weeks in a feat of logistical gymnastics that’s gotta be seen to be believed.
The absolutely wild scenario will play out across rounds 6 and 7 of the 2020 season, which AFL officials are doggedly pressing ahead with come hell or high water.
Thanks to various border restrictions being announced by the various states in response to the worsening coronavirus issue in Melbourne, the city’s two stadiums – the MCG and Marvel Stadium – will sit unused until at least July 20, and likely far beyond that as well.
Utilising the hub model that Western Australia and South Australian sides have been engaging with since the season re-start four weeks ago, the new model will see Essendon, North Melbourne, the Western Bulldogs, and Richmond set up camp on the Gold Coast, while Carlton and St Kilda will relocate to quarantined base in Noosa.
Melbourne and Hawthorn will both set up camp in New South Wales, while Collingwood and Geelong will begin hub life in New South Wales before travelling to a previously-announced stint in Western Australia.
The fixture shuffling includes some deeply unthinkable scenarios, kicking off with a match between Geelong and Brisbane at the Sydney Cricket Ground next Thursday.
Round 6 also features the wild one-two of Melbourne taking on Gold Coast at GIANTS Stadium in Western Sydney next Saturday night, while at the same time Essendon clashes with North Melbourne at the Gold Coast’s home Metricon Stadium.
Every game in Round 6 will take place in either New South Wales or South-East Queensland, before the game spreads back out in Round 7 to include games in both Perth and Adelaide.
— AFL House (@AFL_House) July 3, 2020
The full lineup for both rounds reads as follows:
Thursday, July 9
- Geelong vs Brisbane, SCG (Sydney) 7:40pm AEST
Friday, July 10
- Collingwood vs Hawthorn, GIANTS Stadium (Sydney) 7:50pm AEST
Saturday, July 12
- Fremantle vs St Kilda, Metricon Stadium (Gold Coast) 12:35pm AEST
- West Coast vs Adelaide, The Gabba (Brisbane) 3:05pm AEST
- Melbourne vs Gold Coast, GIANTS Stadium (Sydney) 6:05pm AEST
- Essendon vs North Melbourne, Metricon Stadium (Gold Coast) 7:40pm AEST
Sunday, July 13
- Port Adelaide vs GWS Giants, Metricon Stadium (Gold Coast) 1:05pm AEST
- Richmond vs Sydney, The Gabba (Brisbane) 3:35pm AEST
- Carlton vs Western Bulldogs, Metricon Stadium 6:45pm AEST
Thursday, July 16
- Geelong vs Collingwood, Optus Stadium (Perth) 6:10pm AWST
Friday, July 17
- Essendon vs Western Bulldogs, Metricon Stadium (Gold Coast) 7:50pm AEST
Saturday, July 18
- GWS Giants vs Brisbane, GIANTS Stadium (Sydney) 1:45pm AEST
- Sydney vs Gold Coast, SCG (Sydney) 4:35pm AEST
- Richmond vs North Melbourne, Metricon Stadium (Gold Coast) 7:40pm AEST
Sunday, July 19
- Carlton vs Port Adelaide, The Gabba (Brisbane) 1:05pm AEST
- Hawthorn vs Melbourne, GIANTS Stadium (Sydney) 3:35pm AEST
- Fremantle vs West Coast, Optus Stadium (Perth) 4:35pm AWST
Monday, July 20
- Adelaide vs St Kilda, Adelaide Oval (Adelaide) 7:10pm ACST
If nothing else that is a hell of an effort. A real feat of spreadsheeting. Operating Excel at absolute pro levels, you’ve gotta say.Image: Getty Images / Robert Cianflone