The moment many of us have been waiting for – the AFL resumes tonight with some changes to keep the game alive this year. (Images source: SBS)
By Alexandra Bull | @ally_bull19
The AFL will resume this evening after the season was put on hold indefinitely on March 21 due to COVID-19.
The season will pick up with Collingwood vs Richmond at the MCG tonight, which was part of the original fixture for the 2020 season.
The game will be on Channel 7 from 7pm, with the bounce at 7:10pm (ACST).
Games will pick back up for round two, with clubs maintaining their points and ladder positions from round one.
Games will continue to play 16-minute quarters (plus time on), rather than 20 minutes, with extra rules implemented to make sure the required social distancing measures are still in place.
The 16-minute quarters were played in round one, which shortens the game by 20 minutes, allowing for social distancing between players and staff.
While we got to see empty ovals at home in March, it will no doubt continue to be a weird sensation to be able to hear everything that is going on at the game from the comfort of our own homes.
However, while most games will allow no spectators for the foreseeable future, it was good news for Port Power members on Tuesday
In an email sent out on Tuesday afternoon to its members, Port Power announced that 2000 spectators and 240 corporate partners will be allowed at the showdown on Saturday night.
These patrons will consist of 1475 Power club members, 475 Adelaide fans and 50 Adelaide Oval members, with the 240 corporate partners in private rooms.
Greater Western Sydney are also pushing to have approximately 300 hundred fans at their Sunday afternoon game against North Melbourne at GIANTS Stadium.
As COVID-19 restrictions slowly begin to ease, it will be interesting to see if the state governments will continue to allow small amounts of spectators at all games, consisting mainly of members who have opted to continue to pay their membership fees.
Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide will do battle in Showdown 48 on Saturday night at Adelaide Oval before both teams travel to the Gold Coast to be a part of the Queensland AFL Hub.
They will be joined by Fremantle and West Coast, along with the two Queensland teams, to play rounds three to five against each other.
The AFL is also looking into having an AFL Hub in Western Australia as the season continues to even up the disadvantage that the Western Australian teams face by playing four games in a row in Queensland.
The AFL is still working on the fixture beyond round five as COVID-19 travelling and quarantining restrictions are still in place.
This makes planning and executing a fixture extremely hard, as the situation is always evolving, therefore making travelling for clubs difficult and confidently planning a season even harder than usual.
The AFL are also aiming to hold the 2020 Grand Final on October 24 if the season is not disrupted due to a potential second wave of COVID-19.
The change in date is to accommodate a full season of 17 rounds (instead of 23) and allow for a full final’s series, which is why the date is no longer on the classic last Saturday of September.
As part of the implementations of the COVID-19 rules that will allow AFL to take place, Port and Crows’ SANFL teams will not be allowed to participate in the South Australian state league this year.
This is due to the AFL stating that AFL listed players are not allowed to compete in their respective state leagues for the 2020, due to the restrictions put in place.
This has put a slight damper on the Port Adelaide Magpies 150 years anniversary, which they were supposed to be celebrating this year but are now unable to compete.
This is the first time in their history that the Magpies have been forced to withdraw from the SANFL competition, with the only exceptions being World War One and World War Two.
Port Adelaide are expected to return to the SANFL next year, as they are contracted until 2028 to play in the league.
Whilst it is not the season any AFL players or fans had hoped for, we are lucky enough to be able to get a season at all, even if we have to watch every game from the comfort of our warm living rooms.