AFL planning three blockbusters for first round back
THE AFL is strongly considering scheduling Geelong and Hawthorn to play each other as part of a bumper Round 2.
The league wants to kickstart the football season with a bang and has discussed slotting in the Hawks versus Cats' clash on Friday, June 12.
Hawthorn and Geelong share arguably the biggest rivalry of the modern era but their annual Easter Monday blockbuster didn't happen because of the AFL's COVID-19 shutdown.
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The match between the two sides would add significant excitement and anticipation to the resumption round which is due to kick-off on June 11.
It would be one of at least three marquee night matches in Round 2, including Collingwood versus Richmond on Thursday night, and a showdown between Port Adelaide and Adelaide on Saturday night.
The AFL will send extra umpires to South Australia to make sure the showdown happens amid that state's 14-day quarantine rules.
The next four-week block of the 2020 fixture could be announced as early as Monday.
AFL fixture boss Travis Auld is still working through the finer details of the Round 2 fixture as well as the first block of games to be released.
There are still a number of variables impacting on the fixture, with the league focused on getting the season up and running before concentrating on what might happened at the back end of the season.
Despite Collingwood president Eddie McGuire and others saying the 2020 grand final will almost certainly be played at night for the first time, it is understood the AFL is yet to seriously discuss the issue.
The AFL had declared it wants to finish the season before the end of October, but hasn't locked into a date for the premiership playoff.
They will likely leave some slight flexibility in the draw just in case the players require a bye at some stage, although it is already working to a tight deadline.
It's also understood the league hasn't yet discussed the prospect of some crowds being allowed back to the footy later in the season, given the ever-changing COVID-19 landscape.
West Coast football chief Craig Vozzo said on Saturday the Eagles believed their games played in the southeast Queensland hub would all be considered "away" games, allowing for the prospect of a number of home games late in the season.
"The biggest thing for us from a big picture perspective was that we (hopefully) have a series of home games later on in the year to account for the fact we are playing several away games to get the season started," Vozzo said.