K rock Football

Footy to farewell Victoria

The MCG could stand vacant for up to a month. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Al Packer)

ALL 10 Victorian-based AFL sides will leave the state later this week to enter hubs in either Western Australia, Queensland or NSW – possibly for the rest of the season.

Round 5 will go ahead as planned, but the AFL has been forced to change their fixtures for rounds six and seven due to the ordered mass exodus of teams from Victoria following a fresh COVID-19 outbreak.

The temporary relocation out of the state will see all 10 clubs undergo the various quarantine regimes while also continuing to adhere to the strict protocols the AFL has in place.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed on Friday her state would host six Victorian sides – St Kilda, North Melbourne, Essendon, Western Bulldogs, Richmond and Carlton.

Geelong and Collingwood will make a one-week pit stop in Sydney before flying to Perth for their WA hub.

The Cats will ‘host’ Brisbane next Thursday night at the SCG, with Collingwood named as the home side for their showdown with Hawthorn at Giants Stadium the following night.

Geelong and Collingwood will then face off in Perth the following week.

Melbourne will ‘host’ Gold Coast at Giants Stadium on Saturday, July 11, with Essendon and North Melbourne to face off at Metricon Stadium that night.

Richmond will play host to Sydney at the Gabba on Sunday, July 12, with Carlton and the Bulldogs to lock horns at Metricon Stadium later that day.

“Essentially Queensland is going to be the home of the AFL, they should give us the grand final after this,” Palaszczuk told reporters on Friday.

“Four teams are going to be on the Gold Coast and two on the Sunshine Coast.”

Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said his players were excited about heading into a hub, though they would be supported if they elected to stay in Melbourne.

“The difficult thing, I think for everyone who’s going to a hub is just leaving their families behind,” he said.

“I think we’ve got eight dads and the boys will make decisions on whether or not (they go).

“We’d love to take everyone with us, we’ll definitely take all our players.

“We’re hoping to be able to take partners and young children if that’s what the choice is – but there might be one or two who may not be able to go and that’s fine and so we’ll work through that.”

Players from seven clubs who live in Melbourne’s COVID-19 hot spots have temporarily moved out of their homes to avoid being banned from entering NSW.

The Bulldogs had to relocate seven players and three staff members to a combination of staff member houses, hotels and Airbnbs.

There will not be a hub in South Australia, with SA Health Minister Stephen Wade ruling out the concept on SEN radio on Friday.

(C) AAP 2020

ROUND 6

Thursday, July 9

Geelong v Brisbane, SCG, 7.40pm

Friday, July 10

Collingwood v Hawthorn, Giants Stadium, 7.50pm

Saturday, July 11

Fremantle v St Kilda, Metricon Stadium, 12.35pm

West Coast v Adelaide, Gabba, 3.05pm

Melbourne v Gold Coast, Giants Stadium, 6.05pm

Essendon v North Melbourne, Metricon Stadium, 7.40pm

Sunday, July 12

Port Adelaide v GWS, Metricon Stadium, 1.05pm

Richmond v Sydney, Gabba, 3.35pm

Carlton v Western Bulldogs, Metricon Stadium, 6.45pm

ROUND 7

Thursday, July 16

Geelong v Collingwood, Optus Stadium, 8.10pm

Friday, July 17

Essendon v Western Bulldogs, Metricon Stadium, 7.50pm

Saturday, July 18

GWS v Brisbane, Giants Stadium, 1.45pm

Sydney v Gold Coast, SCG, 4.35pm

Richmond v North Melbourne, Metricon Stadium, 7.40pm

Sunday, July 19

Carlton v Port Adelaide, Gabba, 1.05pm

Hawthorn v Melbourne, Giants Stadium, 3.35pm

Fremantle v West Coast, Optus Stadium, 6.35pm

Monday, July 20

Adelaide v St Kilda, Adelaide Oval, 7.40pm

ALL TIMES AEST