After a day of COVID chaos in Victoria, the AFL has made the decision to postpone this weekend’s VFL games.
This includes the VFLW Preliminary Final, as well as the already rescheduled VFL Round 14.
The decision comes after the VFL last week announced that the competition would be shortened to a 19 round, 14 game a side season. With 22 teams in the competition, it’s looking more and more likely that the majority of teams won’t get the chance to play many of the opponents they were fixtured against.
For the VFLW teams, the run to the ultimate match has been placed in a unique position. Collingwood had already gained the week off, advancing through to the Grand Final, and will now have at least a two week break before the big dance.
Essendon and Geelong will now have the chance to freshen their legs, with more time to prepare for the inevitable match up with the undefeated reigning premiers.
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In a statement released today, the VFL outlined the factors behind the decision, and the steps that will be taken in the coming weeks.
“The AFL has made the decision to fixture a VFL competition bye for all clubs this weekend to provide balance and equality in the remaining fixtured games. VFL games will not proceed in Queensland as scheduled,” it said.
“The fixture will continue to be a week-by-week proposition and the AFL will continue to work with the Victorian Government and Health Officials on finding solutions for these competitions. The AFL has prepared for this situation and has worked through this challenge before. The inclusion of byes for all VFL clubs provides flexibility with the fixture and allows for adjustments to be made to play the remaining games.
“The AFL will continue to meet with all parties and review this decision based on the changing circumstances and advice from government and relevant health departments and medical experts. We will communicate any updates and provide advice in a timely manner.
“The AFL would like to thank the VFL and VFLW communities, each club, players and families and all football fans for their continued patience and understanding as we continue to navigate through this pandemic together.”
While AFL games will go ahead outside of Victoria, the lack of the second-tier competition has implications on 14 of the 18 sides.
Practice games have been organised in the past, but multiple teams had already put plans in place to return injured players through the VFL.
Carlton’s Charlie Curnow was set to play 60-70 minutes for the reserves side against Collingwood on the weekend, but will have to wait another weekend to find his match fitness.
St Kilda’s Dan Hannebery was similarly set for his second VFL game on return from a long-term calf injury for the Sandringham Zebras.
The remaining rounds of the VFL season are set to be announced.
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