Essendon have received a small boost in their pursuit of an AFL finals berth, with an ‘away’ clash against Gold Coast this week to be played in Victoria.
Two matches involving Queensland clubs were listed with venues to be confirmed when the league released its amended round-22 fixture earlier this week.
Brisbane will now host Collingwood at the Gabba on Saturday night, while the Suns will take on the Bombers at Geelong’s GMHBA Stadium on Sunday.
The Magpies will fly in and out of Brisbane on charter flights on the day of their game under quarantine protocols agreed with the Queensland government.
The Lions have also agreed to operate under certain protocols after returning home to Queensland on Tuesday, having played their previous two matches in Perth and Launceston.
Gold Coast’s squad is currently in locked-down Melbourne and had wanted to return home to live under quarantine conditions after the Essendon game, in preparation for a final-round meeting with Sydney.
But the Suns were unable to secure the required exemptions from the state government.
“With players and staff currently based in hotel lockdown in Victoria, it has provided some challenges to ensure the season can be completed,” Gold Coast said in a release on the club website.
“As previously stated, the club had been working with the AFL to obtain permission to return to Queensland under quarantine conditions, with an ability to also train and prepare for the final round of the premiership season.
“Time has subsequently run out to secure those approvals for the scheduling of this weekend’s match and the game has been fixtured in Geelong at GMHBA Stadium.”
After not playing in Geelong for 28 years, Essendon will now play there for a second time in six weeks.
The Bombers lost to Geelong at the Kardinia Park venue in 1993 but did not return in a match for premiership points until last month, when they suffered a 41-point defeat to the Cats.
Essendon’s last win at Geelong was a two-point triumph in 1990 that came despite Gary Ablett Snr booting a bag of eight goals for the Cats.
Ben Rutten’s ninth-placed Bombers are one of four teams locked on 36 points, just two points behind eighth-placed GWS with two rounds to play.