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AFL locks in 2022 pre-season schedule as Covid reality continues to bite

The AFL will again run a modified pre-season schedule next year that limits interstate travel amid the continued uncertainty around Covid-19.

Clubs will face two different opponents but only one of those matches will be part of the official Community Series from March 3-7, while the other will be an unsanctioned practice game.

The non-Community Series match can be held across one of the last two weekends in February and teams can decide on venue, time, date and game format, including number of players and quarters.

AFL head of broadcasting and scheduling Marcus King said the decision to stick with the model used for the first time this year was made in consultation with clubs.

“We (want) to safeguard the health and safety of the competition and the community by minimising travel prior to the Toyota AFL premiership season,” King said.

“Equally, this arrangement provides clubs with the ability to determine individual requirements to best prepare for the season ahead.

“The Community Series plays an important role for both AFL clubs and supporters … as we welcome AFL fans back to each venue following an interrupted 2021 season as a result of the ongoing pandemic.”

The first two Community Series clashes will be at Marvel Stadium, with Carlton hosting reigning premier Melbourne on the Thursday night and the Western Bulldogs meeting Brisbane a night later.

Hawthorn and Richmond will play a tribute match in northwest Tasmania on March 5 in honour of the families and community impacted by last week’s tragic accident at Hillcrest Primary School.

The venue is yet to be confirmed but one option is believed to be Dial Park in Penguin.

Adelaide and Port Adelaide will play a pre-season Showdown on the same day at Richmond Oval before Essendon takes on St Kilda at Marvel Stadium that night.

Giants Stadium will host a Sunday double-header featuring Greater Western Sydney and Collingwood, then Sydney and North Melbourne.

Fremantle and West Coast will also play a WA Derby at Fremantle Oval on that Sunday, while Gold Coast and Geelong will round out the series at Metricon Stadium on the Monday night.

Ticketing details for the Community Series are yet to be released but all matches will be broadcast live on Fox Footy and Kayo.

 

2022 AAMI Community Series matches

Thursday, March 3

Carlton v Melbourne, Marvel Stadium, 7.20pm AEDT

Friday, March 4

Western Bulldogs v Brisbane Lions, Marvel Stadium, 7.20pm AEDT

Saturday, March 5

Hawthorn v Richmond, Venue TBC, 1.10pm AEDT

Adelaide v Port Adelaide, Richmond Oval, 4:10pm AEDT

Essendon v St Kilda, Marvel Stadium, 7.10pmpm AEDT

Sunday, March 6

GWS Giants v Collingwood, Giants Stadium, 12.40pm AEDT

Sydney Swans v North Melbourne, Giants Stadium, 4.20pm AEDT

Fremantle v West Coast, Fremantle Oval, 7.10pm AEDT

Monday, March 7

Gold Coast v Geelong, Metricon Stadium, 7.40pm AEDT

 

2022 pre-season practice matches (venues, dates and times TBC)

Essendon v Western Bulldogs

North Melbourne v Melbourne

Sydney Swans v GWS GIANTS

Carlton v St Kilda

Collingwood v Hawthorn

Geelong Cats v Richmond

Brisbane Lions v Gold Coast SUNS

West Coast Eagles v Adelaide Crows

Fremantle v Port Adelaide

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