Australia

Cats, Demons reveal finals travel plans as grand final location firms


Melbourne and Geelong will travel to Perth after their respective qualifying finals as the AFL prepares to shift its grand final away from the MCG.

Last week, Demons coach Simon Goodwin held out hope of returning to his club’s home ground at some stage in September.

But the league is set to lock in a new venue for the final game of the season, with Perth’s Optus Stadium the frontrunner.

The same venue in Western Australia is also expected to host other AFL finals in the coming weeks.

The minor premiers will fly west after tackling Brisbane at Adelaide Oval this weekend.

“Win or lose, we’ll be off to Perth,” 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 coach Chris Scott also confirmed on Wednesday that his team would set up camp in Perth following Friday night’s finals series opener against Port Adelaide.

The Cats 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.

Recent regular-season games in Tasmania have been staged with both teams flying in and out on the day of the match.

Bombers coach Ben Rutten expects to fly to Tasmania on Saturday ahead of Sunday’s clash with the Bulldogs — and to remain on the road if they win through to the second week of finals.

“It has shifted a little bit throughout the week — but it’s looking like we’ll be heading off on Saturday, the day before the game,” he said.

“Then, like probably most clubs that are playing the cut-throat finals. We’re not sure what that looks like after that.

“But certainly the indications at the moment are that we’ll be on the road until we finish — whenever that is.”

Rutten expected to take a large travelling party to Tasmania in preparation for a potentially extensive stint interstate.

“Probably (we’ll take the whole squad), yeah. I think we’ll take everyone — a similar sort of travel party that we did when we went up to Queensland a few weeks ago,” he said.

The AFL has made it clear it wants the remainder of the season to be played in front of crowds.

The league is yet to rule out hosting its grand final at Adelaide Oval but is widely tipped to go with Perth’s 60,000-seat venue, which is currently allowed to operate at peak capacity.

“I’d like to think in the coming days, we’ll have a view of where the grand final will be,” league fixtures boss Travis Auld said on Monday.

AAP


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