Perth is all but certain to host the AFL grand final after Optus Stadium was officially named the standby venue for the season decider.
The final game of the season is poised to be moved from the MCG for the second consecutive season amid Melbourne’s latest coronavirus outbreak.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said the game hadn’t yet been taken away from Melbourne with the league waiting on the Victorian government’s decision on whether the MCG could host it, but Perth had been locked in as a back-up.
“Today I had a conversation with the West Australian premier (Mark) McGowan … where we let them know that Optus Stadium would be the home of the AFL grand final in the event that it is not able to happen at the MCG,” McLachlan told reporters on Wednesday.
The AFL has made it clear it wants the remainder of the season to be played in front of crowds with Optus Stadium expected to host other finals in coming weeks.
Melbourne and Geelong will travel to Perth after their respective qualifying finals against Brisbane and Port Adelaide at the Adelaide Oval.
“Win or lose, we’ll be off to Perth,” Melbourne coach Goodwin said.
“We start our quarantine bubble tonight then off to Adelaide on Friday.
“The information we’ve got is we’ll head to Perth on Sunday.”
Geelong will travel with their full squad and, like Melbourne, only return home once their season is over.
This week’s qualifying finals are being played at Adelaide Oval while Launceston is hosting Sydney-GWS and the Western Bulldogs-Essendon elimination finals.
Bombers coach Ben Rutten expects to fly to Tasmania on Saturday ahead of Sunday’s clash with the Bulldogs and remain on the road if they win through to the second week of finals.
Rutten expected to take a large travelling party to Tasmania in preparation for a potentially extensive stint interstate.