Fremantle and West Coast have undergone fixture changes due to border restriction issues. (Photo: Fremantle FC)

The 2022 AFLW season has undergone fixture changes a week out from its start, with Fremantle and West Coast both impacted by border restrictions.

One week away from the season opener, the AFL has been forced to make immediate changes to the early rounds of the AFLW fixture.

With border restrictions in Western Australia still firmly in place, matches have been rescheduled accordingly. Fremantle and West Coast will now kick off their seasons with a Round 1 Derby, meeting at Fremantle Oval at 8:50pm AEDT on Saturday, January 8.

Opponents Adelaide and Brisbane will open their seasons with a Grand Final rematch on Sunday, January 9 at Flinders University Stadium. The Crows will get their chance for revenge on home turf, and open their campaign with a bang.

Every other Round 1 fixture will remain as scheduled, kicking off on Friday, January 7 at SkyBus Stadium between St Kilda and Richmond.

AFL General Manager of Women’s Football Nicole Livingstone spoke on the fixturing changes.

“While COVID-19 continues to impact our community, we will continue to make changes that best manage the current environment, progresses our season and protects the health and safety of those in our game and the wider community,” Livingstone said.

“We’re really looking forward to the season kicking off next Friday night in what shapes up to be a blockbuster opening round. With this fixture update, Round 1 will now see a WA Derby at Fremantle Oval and a re-match of the 2021 Grand Final between the Adelaide Crows and Brisbane Lions at Noarlunga Oval.”

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After Round 1, both the Eagles and Dockers will host their Round 2 ‘home’ fixtures at Whitten Oval on Sunday, January 16.

Fremantle had already previously had its game against GWS rescheduled to the Western Bulldogs’ home ground, while West Coast will still host Gold Coast.

West Coast’s Round 3 game against Adelaide will be played at the Swinburne Centre (Punt Road Oval), remaining at the 12:40pm Saturday, January 22 time slot.

Both the West Coast vs Brisbane and Fremantle vs Adelaide games originally scheduled for Round 1 will be played in Round 8 at this stage, with both WA sides hosting at their home grounds.

At this stage, no other fixtures are affected.

Gold Coast, however, have reported five positive COVID cases after the whole playing squad was sent into isolation after initial confirmation of one player testing positive.

The AFL recently announced guidelines for the AFLW season surrounding positive COVID cases.

As long as a minimum of 21 players are available for selection (an AFLW game day team with no emergencies), games can still go ahead. As it stands, the Suns will be able to complete their Round 1 fixture against the Giants.

Games will only be cancelled in the case of “extreme circumstances”, per a recent AFL statement.

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