AFL 2020 season resumes on June 11 as West Coast Eagles, Fremantle Dockers play on Gold Coast hub


Players and club officials will be tested before they resume training at their respective facilities on Monday, and twice a week indefinitely thereafter.

West Coast and Fremantle, who had been hoping the state government would exempt them from quarantine to allow them to fly in and out of WA for the initial batch of matches, will be based at two golf course resorts on the Gold Coast.

Eagles football general manager Craig Vozzo said although Perth was the ideal location for a hub, the club was happy to relocate to Royal Pines.

“It’s a good fit for our football club in terms of climate and facility … a good opportunity to gather with some space,” he said at a press conference on Friday morning.

“There’s good availability for ovals, gyms and aquatic facilities … and gives us a good opportunity to set up a good base.”

Vozzo said there was potential for the families of West Coast players – and Fremantle by association, too – to join them at their hubs.

“We’re working through with the AFL collaboratively, for players and staff families living in a hub,” he said.

The WA and SA teams would play a series of matches against each other and the Queensland-based Gold Coast Suns and Brisbane Lions.

The AFL website said broadcast partners Channel Seven and Foxtel had requested traditional Thursday to Sunday fixturing where possible for the remaining 144 matches of the regular season, although those arrangements and the fixture going forward could change depending on the COVID-19 fight.

The Eagles and Dockers asked to be based on the Gold Coast rather than Victoria to protect any home-ground advantage in matches against the 10 Melbourne teams.

West Coast hoped the AFL could fixture a run of home games at Optus Stadium later in the season to even the ledger.

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“We need to be flexible and are working to get a reasonable run of home games after that,” he said.

The WA clubs would play their initial matches at Metricon Stadium and the GABBA.

The Dockers and Eagles will now likely remain in WA and train fully as a squad from May 25 before flying to Queensland to begin matches on the June 12-14 weekend.

Collingwood president Eddie McGuire, a member of the AFL’s coronavirus committee, said on Wednesday round two of the 2020 season would resume at the MCG with traditional rivals Collingwood and Richmond, who were scheduled to play each other that round anyway.

Clubs in Victoria and NSW would continue to play in their home states and also fly in and out for fixtures on chartered flights, some to carry two teams where possible for interstate trips to reduce costs and reduce the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak.

Players were told on Wednesday they would be held to stricter social distancing measures than the public in their individual states.

Mr McLachlan will reveal more detail around the season resumption at 10.45pm WST on Friday.

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