Double the fun: AFL hints at revamped fixture
AFL fixture chief Travis Auld has forecast the potential for double-headers at the same venue, more Thursday night matches and the prospect of a blockbuster Collingwood-Richmond clash to restart the season on June 11.
Auld is currently working on the league's revamped 2020 fixture following the COVID-19 shutdown and hopes to have the first four-to-five week block released within 10 days.
But while the draw is a work in progress, he provided a few hints on Saturday, including the prospect of venues hosting back-to-backs games - without crowds - to assist the AFL in getting through the remaining 16 rounds.
"We have the opportunity to have double-headers … we have the chance to have games on the same day at one of the venues," Auld said yesterday.
"It would make it easier from a fixturing point of view. It makes it easier for our broadcasters, TV and radio, and I think there is support to do things a bit differently."
That would allow some venues to host day and night matches on the same date if needed.
Auld also provided further fixturing clarity, saying:
• The much-talked about Pies-Tigers reboot on June isn't yet locked in, but has his strong support;
• The AFL hasn't had any discussion with broadcasters about the potential of a night Grand Final;
• GMHBA Stadium in Geelong will host games as the third Victorian venue;
• Thursday nights will be a key plank, but not every week, while Mondays and Wednesday have been ruled out;
• WA and SA teams will almost certainly have to play a few 'home' games in Queensland, but will hopefully be compensated in the back half of the season;
• The Sydney teams will likely play against Victorian teams in the first five weeks.
"We've got some work ahead of us in the next seven to ten days," Auld said on radio on Saturday.
He threw his support behind keeping the original Round 2 Thursday night pairing of reigning premiers Richmond against Collingwood on June 11.
"It feels like it's building," he said. "There's certainly a level of support for it."
"I do like it, I think it's a really strong way to start the season so yeah, it might be the public vote that one.
"It feels like it is going to be a disappointment if we don't (as it) was the Thursday night originally."
Originally published as Double the fun: AFL hints at revamped fixture