AFLW 2022: West Coast, Fremantle condense fixture in bid for additional flexibility
The AFL have condensed Fremantle and West Coast’s AFLW fixture for the next two weeks in the hope of achieving further flexibility after the WA government reneged on reopening the border.
Both clubs remain stranded in Melbourne after relocating to Victoria after round one.
But with their return to WA clouded by quarantine arrangements, both clubs will aim to play as many games as possible in Victoria before navigating a return home.
Fremantle’s round four Sunday afternoon clash against Collingwood has been rescheduled to Thursday at 2:40pm WST.
While West Coast’s Saturday afternoon clash against St Kilda has been shifted to Friday night, 4:10pm WST.
Both clubs will then feature in a Tuesday night double-header.
The Eagles will face Collingwood for the first time since their AFLW debut in 2020 at Victoria Park, 2:10pm WST.
Fremantle will then play the Western Bulldogs, 4:10pm WST at Whitten Oval, as the Bulldogs attempt to catch up after a two-week COVID lay-off.
The Dockers were due to play the Bulldogs in round 10 while the Eagles had been fixtured to face Collingwood in round six, giving the AFL a week of fixtures to play with.
West Coast General Manager of Community and Game Development Richard O’Connell said the challenge would help accelerate the development of the winless Eagles.
“The sooner everyone can return home to work and families is really important for wellbeing but also for those WA employers who are running a bit shorter during this period so our players have the opportunity to pursue their AFLW dreams,” he said.
“Our sports science and medical staff will carefully manage the squads training loads to keep them as fresh as practical, they understand at times it will be a gruelling but we have a tough resilient squad who understand what they are up against.”
Fremantle coach Trent Cooper said the additional fixture could pave the way for more debutants.
“We have got a really healthy squad and feel that we bat quite deep, so it will be great to give some opportunities to players who haven’t played as of yet while we manage the squad,” he said.
“We think we are capable of being able to produce some really good football over the next few games.”
AFL General Manager Competition Management Laura Kane said the fixture reshuffle gave the AFL greater flexibility moving forward.
“We remain committed to completing the season and awarding a Premier and the updates to the fixture aim to provide the competition with greater flexibility as we progress the season,” Kane said.
“The decision to schedule additional matches to the fixture for Fremantle and the West Coast Eagles was made in close consultation and with strong support from each Club following updates to border restrictions relating to Western Australia.
“We remain cognisant of the outside-football commitments of many players and staff from WA who are currently on the road in Victoria, and we thank them for their commitment and understanding.
“The league will continue to work closely with each club and the AFLPA, and will remain led by the advice of respective state governments and relevant health authorities as we work through arrangements for the coming rounds. I want to thank the AFLPA for working with us to provide the flexibility required to progress the season.”
NAB AFLW Round Four – Updated Fixture
Thursday, January 27
Collingwood vs. Fremantle, Victoria Park
Friday, January 28
GWS GIANTS vs. Western Bulldogs, Henson Park
St. Kilda vs. West Coast Eagles, SkyBus Stadium
Saturday, January 29
Adelaide Crows vs. Melbourne Norwood Oval
Brisbane Lions vs. Geelong Cats, Maroochydore Multi Sports Complex
Sunday, January 30
Carlton vs. Kangaroos Ikon Park
Gold Coast SUNS vs. Richmond, Metricon Stadium
Tuesday, February 1
Collingwood vs. West Coast Eagles, Victoria Park
Western Bulldogs vs. Fremantle, Whitten Oval
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