AFL to play 33 matches in 20 days as part of next fixture block

The AFL will stage 33 matches across 20 consecutive days as part of its fixture for rounds nine to 12 of the coronavirus-disrupted premiership season.

The Western Bulldogs and Richmond will kick off the schedule of matches when they face each other in Carrara on Wednesday July 29, just two days after the completion of round eight.

Matches will be played across Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania, with night-time double-headers a feature of the condensed schedule.

The two NSW-based teams, Sydney and GWS, will travel to Perth where they will play West Coast and Fremantle, as well as each other.

North Melbourne will temporarily relocate to Hobart and play two matches in rounds 11 and 12 — against Melbourne and Brisbane respectively — should the Tasmanian Government provide an exemption.

“Unprecedented times delivers us an unprecedented fixture for the next block of games,” AFL general manager of clubs and broadcasting Travis Auld said in a statement.

“This season has had so many twists and turns but it has also driven enormous interest from our supporters across the country.”

Auld said the AFL made the decision to condense the season because most clubs were based in hubs.

“We have taken the opportunity to compress the season as the feedback from clubs is that while they are in a hub environment there was a desire to play more games in a shorter period of time, and in turn we can effectively complete the season in a quicker format,” he said.

“Given that we don’t have the ability to prioritise attendance at matches this season, it allows us to play games in the non-traditional time-slots of Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night and showcase our game across the entire week.”

AFL rewards Tasmania

Auld said playing matches in Tasmania was a priority for the AFL.

“We have been consistent in our desire to get matches in Tasmania,” he said.

“Both the AFL and North Melbourne are heavily invested into footy in Hobart and we are very happy for the state and the city to host two matches.”

Two AFL teammates pump their fists while keeping their distance after a goal for their team.

Two AFL teammates pump their fists while keeping their distance after a goal for their team.

The Kangaroos are scheduled to play in Hobart in rounds 11 and 12.(AAP: Scott Barbour)

The AFL will introduce four-day breaks, with Brisbane, Collingwood, Geelong, Melbourne and North Melbourne to have two each.

Adelaide, Essendon, Gold Coast, Port Adelaide, Richmond and St Kilda all have one four-day break across rounds nine to 12.

“In constructing this block of matches, we have focused on ensuring the teams with four-day breaks are, where possible, minimising travel in and around those matches,” Auld said.

“Teams who have four-day breaks in this block of matches will be afforded a bye in the next block.”

Carlton, Fremantle, Hawthorn and West Coast have byes in round 10.

The Giants and Swans will have a bye the following round to accommodate the 14-day quarantine requirement set down by the West Australian Government.