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Sports

AFL to play matches in Cairns, Darwin after moving Victorian clubs north


AFL games are likely to be played in Cairns, Darwin and Tasmania this year after the league’s decision to relocate all Victorian teams to Queensland. Melbourne won’t host any more home-and-away games this season and the grand final is likely to be played outside of the Victorian capital for the first time.

Victoria’s 10 clubs will be based in Queensland for up to 10 weeks, but they will be able to fly in and out of the state under special exemptions.

AFL boss Gillon McLachlan confirmed the league was looking at other venues to lessen the load on south-east Queensland’s two grounds. Four games were played at Metricon Stadium last weekend while the Gabba hosted two.

“It’s possible we play in north Queensland, Cairns,” McLachlan said. “It doesn’t rule out us playing games from Queensland, in the Northern Territory or Tasmania. We will continue to have conversations with those governments.”

With NSW’s coronavirus cases rising, McLachlan said the league will be guided by health authorities when deciding if games are continued to be played in Sydney. Three matches are scheduled for Giants Stadium and two at the SCG for the next two rounds.

The AFL hasn’t released a fixture beyond round eight, but Hawthorn are set to take on Carlton at Perth’s Optus Stadium in round nine.

“There’s a forward plan and a commitment in Western Australia for at least the next seven weeks,” McLachlan said. “We are not able to announce the future fixtures yet, however we are working with the AFLPA and clubs on what compression is possible.”

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