Shepparton News

Get set to hit road Jack



Victoria’s finals-bound AFL clubs could join their NSW counterpar­ts in hitting the road for the rest of the season, while the league will make a decision on the grand final venue within days with Perth firming as the host city for the decider.

Melbourne’s coronaviru­s outbreak has effectivel­y scuppered hopes of the grand final returning to the MCG this year, with no early finals scheduled in Victoria.

The two qualifying finals will be played in Adelaide, while Launceston will host two eliminatio­n finals, with the league planning to keep Melbourne, Geelong, Western Bulldogs, Sydney, GWS and Essendon on the move throughout the finals series.

‘‘I’d like to think in the coming days, we’ll have a view of where the grand final will be played,’’ fixtures boss Travis Auld said at yesterday’s AFL finals launch.

‘‘In the meantime you’ve seen with week one of the finals, we’ve fixtured those outside of Victoria.

‘‘It’s highly likely we’ll keep those teams on the road and fixture week two outside of Victoria.

‘‘That gives us the (options) beyond that, and then we’ll see what happens in the coming days.’’

If minor premier Melbourne or third-placed Geelong win their respective qualifying finals, they could remain on the road despite having the second week of finals off.

‘‘It’s a conversati­on we want to have with those clubs,’’ Auld said.

‘‘It’s a good example of the sort of conversati­ons we’re having at the moment — there might be the opportunit­y to keep them on the road.

‘‘If we have a decision about the grand final, and if it’s not the MCG — and there’s a lot of ifs in this — then you might put them on the road to prepare for a prelim, wherever that might be.

‘‘Some of these decisions won’t be made until later in the week, but they’re the sort of considerat­ions that are happening at the moment.’’

Auld said what that meant for relocated families of Sydney and GWS players and staff would likely be assessed on a case-by-case basis in terms of whether they wanted to stay in Melbourne, return home or continue to travel with their team.

A decision on the MCG’s viability as grand final host is expected this week, while a decision on an alternativ­e venue — if required as expected — would come in subsequent days.

Auld said the government­s of WA and SA had ‘‘put together very compelling pitches to host the grand final’’, while the Queensland Government had told the AFL ‘‘they’re there if we need them’’.

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