Exclusive: Full Round 2 fixture details, Cats big winners
THOUSANDS of footy fans may be able to watch the AFL grand final live under plans devised by the stadiums.
Those plans involve using careful seat allocation, temperature screening on arrival and staggered entry and exit times.
The AFL will release its revised 2020 fixture on Monday with Collingwood to play Richmond, and Geelong will take on Hawthorn when football returns for Round 2 starting June 11.
The Cats have struck pay dirt in their bid to host every game this year at GMHBA Stadium with a blockbuster Round 2 clash against Hawthorn at its home fortress.
The AFL has handed Geelong a huge advantage against its arch rival after 27 consecutive MCG clashes between the pair.
In further revelations, Carlton is expected to host Melbourne in a Saturday twilight clash at 4.35pm in Round 2.
Both teams lost in Round 1 so in a truncated 17-round home-and-away season the loser will quickly fall behind the pace in finals contention.
Four AFL umpires will isolate in South Australia under strict border protocols for 14 days from late this week to allow Port Adelaide to host Adelaide at 7.10pm (local time) at Saturday June 13.
Other clashes in Round 1 include Brisbane-Fremantle on Saturday afternoon at the Gabba, Gold Coast-West Coast on Saturday night at Metricon Stadium and Sydney-Essendon at the SCG on Sunday.
Relive classic AFL matches from the 60s to today on KAYO SPORTS. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly
Greater Western Sydney will take on North Melbourne in Sydney in Round 2, with St Kilda set to play the Western Bulldogs in another battle of Victorian teams who lost Round 1 clashes.
Both games are expected to be played on Sunday alongside the Dons-Sydney clash.
AFL venues are working on seating plans that could allow fans to watch late-season games live.
It is hoped crowd numbers could be gradually ramped up from 5000 to 15,000, and as many as 30,000 for the Grand Final on October 24.
The MCG would be best placed to welcome fans at games due to the considerable space in and around the home of football.
While the AFL remains cautious about allowing crowds, venues including the MCG and Marvel Stadium want to have strategies in case authorities give the green light for fans to return for the second half of the season.
Fans could be separated using empty seats and rows in between and have guidelines on which amenities to use.
As part of the entry requirements, they could be advised specifically on what time they should arrive and find their seats, as well as depart the stadium to avoid overcrowding as patrons move through the gates.
Venue staff who work on game days may be subject to stringent twice-weekly testing to help protect against outbreaks and ensure patron safety.
Any move to allow fans at games would also need public transport plans.
Corporate facilities are a consideration but regular fans, and in particular members, are the main focus for venue management.
The Victorian state government announced that up to 50 people would be allowed to gather at stadiums from June 22.
AFL clubs immediately realised the potential allowing even a few dozen members at games could have as they attempt to retain members this season.
One club said if allowed to have some fans at games it would consider a lottery system similar to the MCC's Grand Final ticketing for members.
The AFL has told league members who retain their memberships this year that they will have "access" should crowds be allowed, while Essendon members that stick by the club will receive a 30 per cent credit on general admission memberships and 50 per cent discount on reserved seat memberships.
Clubs would also seek to have some of their coterie members allowed into venues given many pay upwards of $25,000 each year.
Before Sunday's announcement the AFL's advice to clubs had been that it was unlikely fans would be allowed in all year.
AFL chief Gillon McLachlan said in April there might be no fans this year.
GEELONG THE BIG WINNERS IN NEW FIXTURE
Geelong coach Chris Scott last week said the Cats deserved to host all home games in Geelong given football will resume without any fans attending games.
And that lobbying has paid off spectacularly in a high-stakes clash after Geelong's Round 1 loss to a white-hot Greater Western Sydney.
Geelong's home venue remains one of footy's fortresses, with the Cats having lost only four of their past 37 games at the old Kardinia Park dating back to 2015.
Not since Hawthorn hosted a Launceston clash against Geelong in Round 2, 2007 - the year before their epic rivalry ignited again in the 2008 Grand Final - have they played away from the MCG.
The Cats beat Hawthorn in 11 straight contests after the 2008 Grand Final loss in a streak dubbed the "Kennett Curse", but have lost three of their past four clashes against Alastair Clarkson's Hawks.
Clarkson has coached at GMHBA Stadium only once in a 52-point win against the Cats in 2006.
Geelong coach Chris Scott said on Thursday that "in principle clubs should be playing their home games wherever they choose".
"The clubs don't have any say over the fixture, sometimes we speak to what is fair and what's not but that doesn't imply that has any cut through with the decision makers."
Collingwood will host Richmond in the Round 2 season opener at 7.40pm at the MCG on Thursday June 11, with the fixture to be unveiled on Monday.
The schedule will feature Sunday night contests as well as a marquee GWS-Western Bulldogs clash in prime time in Round 4.