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COVID-19 lockdown sees AFL move Melbourne fixtures to Tasmania

COVID-19 lockdown sees AFL move Melbourne fixtures to Tasmania
June 16, 2021

Tasmania will host two AFL games across two consecutive days this weekend after the League moved more fixtures away from Melbourne amid ongoing COVID-19 issues.

The relocated round 14 matches will see North Melbourne host Brisbane at Hobart's Blundstone Arena on Saturday and Hawthorn play Essendon at UTAS Stadium in Launceston on Sunday - the first time Tasmania will have hosted two AFL games in a single weekend.

With the Victorian Government ruling that matches could only go ahead in the state without crowds this week, the move means Melbourne will not host an AFL match for a third straight week.

Friday night's clash between Premiership contenders Geelong and the Western Bulldogs will be played in front of empty stands at GMHBA Stadium.

AFL Executive General Manager, Finance, Clubs and Broadcasting, Travis Auld commented “while it is disappointing we are unable to host games in front of crowds in Victoria during round 14, we hope the situation continues to trend favourably so we can welcome back members and supporters as soon as possible."

He went on to explain “the decision to relocate two games to Hobart and Launceston was made in close consultation with each respective home team and the Tasmanian Government, having regard to the broader connection each home club has in Tasmania and to allow for members and supporters in Tasmania to attend the games."

Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein described the hosting of two AFL fixtures as representing a “historic” weekend, noting “this is a win not only for Tassie football fans, but for our retail sector, tourism and hospitality industry and our broader economy, and will build on the momentum generated across this week by Dark MOFO - making it a week not to be missed.”

Premier Gutwein emphasised that the Victorian clubs will fly in the day of the game and go straight to the ground without any contact with the community, and once the respective games are over, all teams will go straight to the airport and exit the state.

Image: AFL at Hobart's Blundstone Arena.

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