AFL set for more fixture changes
The AFL is set for another fixture reshuffle with the chaos of round 20 set to have a flow-on effect into round 21.
Five teams – Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sydney, GWS and Essendon – have moved out of Queensland amid the lockdown in the state’s south-east, meaning multiple games will need to be adjusted.
Essendon are set to play the Western Bulldogs but their game is expected to be pushed back from its original Friday night timeslot.
Delaying the Bombers’ round 20 clash with Sydney from Saturday night to Sunday means there would only be a five-day break between games if they played on Friday.
Clubs are only allowed to have one five-day break in the season – as per the AFL Players’ Association’s agreement with the league – and Essendon had theirs between rounds three and four.
“Yes (our opponent is) still the Dogs, I’m pretty sure. But … we haven’t got any certainty on when that’ll be,” coach Ben Rutten said.
“Obviously things got tipped on the head yesterday so we’ll wait and find out.
“Hopefully we’ll find out in the next 24 hours, about when we’re playing, but we’ll be able to prepare for that game.”
Geelong’s clash with GWS is subsequently expected to be moved into the Friday night timeslot.
Meanwhile, Melbourne are poised to jet to Western Australia and quarantine for seven days before facing West Coast at Optus Stadium next Monday night.
Brisbane face the same quarantine period in Perth before tackling Fremantle at the same venue, most likely on Sunday.
Sydney and GWS have been on the road since fleeing NSW on June 22 and after yet another cross-border dash, Swans coach John Longmire said he has “no idea” what the future holds.
The Swans are scheduled to play St Kilda at Marvel Stadium.
“I’m not sure what’s going to happen tonight, let alone tomorrow and I’m sure you’d understand. We just don’t know – we’ve just got no idea,” Longmire said.
“At the moment we’re down here in Melbourne, and I don’t know whether it’ll change or not but at the present time, that’s where we’re looking at being.”
The families of some Sydney and GWS players and staff members are currently in quarantine in Queensland, with the end of their isolation period still a few days away.
Longmire hoped a solution could be found to quickly reunite the club and the families.
“They’ve still got a few days left in quarantine so we’d like to be able to catch up with them in a reasonable amount of time.” he said.
“We were away for nine weeks from them last year as well … last year they didn’t come with us, so we’d like to be able to do it if we can this year.
“Hopefully this week would be a great result. It’s out of our hands.”