Victorian powerhouses Collingwood and Essendon look likely to play in Geelong in 2020 and might even head to Tasmania if football returns this season in the state.
The Bombers’ last game in Tasmania was in 1992 against Fitzroy at North Hobart Oval. Collingwood have never played for premiership points in the state.
The Magpies also haven’t contested an AFL match at GMHBA Stadium since 1999, with Essendon last making the trip down the highway in 1993.
But as there will be no crowds early in the season – and potentially limited crowd numbers later in the year – the AFL is willing to have clubs with bigger membership bases play at smaller grounds.
“It certainly will allow for (Essendon and Collingwood to play in Geelong) in the fixture,” AFL fixtures boss Travis Auld said.
“Historically, we put constraints in the fixture process so those things can’t occur because the crowds just don’t fit into that venue and too many supporters get locked out.
“Those constraints have been removed and so you might find that you’ll see teams like Essendon and Collingwood play down at GMHBA.
“You may even see – if we’re able to get some games away in Tasmania – that those sort of teams will travel to Tasmania, which we haven’t seen for some time, too.”
As it stands, Tasmania isn’t hosting any AFL games this season but the league remains hopeful of playing matches in the state.
North Melbourne and Hawthorn usually play four games apiece in Hobart and Launceston respectively, although usually against interstate clubs or smaller Victorian clubs.
Both the Kangaroos and Hawks have stated their intentions to play games this season in Tasmania.