Swans at home at the Cattery, Collingwood earn a Friday night clash

The Sydney Swans are set to continue using Geelong as a home away from home, with their crucial round 19 clash earmarked to be played at the Cats’ home.

As the Swans and Greater Western Sydney bunker down for an extended exile in Melbourne, the AFL has confirmed that the Swans will host Fremantle at Geelong on Saturday at 1.45pm in round 19, meaning the Dockers’ trip across the Nullarbor will involve the further inconvenience of a trip down the highway against the resurgent Swans.

This will be the second time the Swans have hosted a game at Geelong’s GMHBA Stadium at Kardinia Park, having smashed West Coast by 92 points in round 16.

The Swans have a record of performing well at Geelong in recent years, having beaten the Cats at Kardinia Park by 27 points in 2018, by 46 points in 2017 and by 38 points in 2016. The clubs did not play at the venue in last year’s pandemic-interrupted season.

Sydney consulted with by the AFL on the choice of venue for these relocated games caused by the NSW coronavirus outbreak, which will see the Swans and Giants play a Sydney derby in Ballarat on Saturday afternoon.

But the Dockers are not at all concerned with being sent to Geelong for that game. They will be full rested, whereas they will have had a five-day break before playing Geelong at Optus Stadium on Thursday night.

The AFL is working on the basis that the crowds for this weekend’s round 18 will again be capped at 40,000 at the MCG and Marvel, or 75 percent at other venues, and have been selling tickets on the basis of those numbers.

There had been hope of a lift in the permitted capacity, but this seems less likely given the COVID-19 situation of recent days. Typically, the restrictions mean that the games do not reach the allowed capacity.

Collingwood, which had been relegated to poor time slots, is back on Friday nights, taking on Port Adelaide in that prime slot at Adelaide Oval in round 19.

Essendon have been handed an attractive Friday night clash, hosting the Swans at Marvel Stadium in round 20.

The round 20 game between the Giants and Port Adelaide, which had been fixtured for Canberra, will also need a new home given that the ACT has been declared a red zone by the Victorian government, despite the capital’s ongoing absence of coronavirus cases.

The AFL is still yet to come up with a solution to their plan to relocate the families of players and staff to Victoria due to the lockdown in NSW. The solution will involve those family members quarantining, probably for 14 days as per the government regulations and potentially in another state, before they can come to Victoria.

ROUND 19

Friday, July 23
Port Adelaide v Collingwood at Adelaide Oval, 6.45pm ACST

Saturday, July 24
Hawthorn v Brisbane at the MCG, 1.45pm AEST
Sydney v Fremantle at GMHBA Stadium, 1.45pm AEST
Essendon v GWS Giants at Marvel Stadium, 4.35pm AEST
Gold Coast v Melbourne at TIO Stadium, 6.55pm ACST
West Coast v St Kilda at Optus Stadium, 5.40pm AWST

Sunday, July 25
Western Bulldogs v Adelaide at Mars Stadium, 12.40pm AEST
Geelong v Richmond at the MCG, 1.45pm AEST
Carlton v North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium, 4.40pm AEST

ROUND 20

Friday, July 30
Essendon v Sydney at Marvel Stadium, 7.50pm AEST

Saturday, July 31
North Melbourne v Geelong at Blundstone Arena, 1.45pm AEST
Brisbane v Gold Coast at the Gabba, 3.20pm AEST
St Kilda v Carlton at Marvel Stadium, 4.35pm AEST
Melbourne v Western Bulldogs at the MCG, 7.25pm AEST
Adelaide v Hawthorn at Adelaide Oval, 7.10pm ACST

Sunday, August 1
GWS Giants v Port Adelaide at TBC, 1.10pm AEST
Collingwood v West Coast at the MCG, 2.10pm AEST
Fremantle v Richmond at Optus Stadium, 3.10pm AWST

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