Good news, footy fans: the AFL season is making a comeback earlier than expected. It was announced on Friday, May 15 that the AFL season would restart on June 11, less than two months after it was put on hold as a result of physical distancing measures around the country.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan outlined a 'return-to-play' plan, which would involve all teams returning to non-contact training from Monday, May 18 at their home bases – however, they will only be allowed to train in a maximum group of eight players at a time. Contact training with all players will resume on May 25 for two weeks, allowing a grand total of three and a half weeks of training for teams before the season kicks off again. Rigorous health protocols will be followed when training and games resume, said McLachlan, including regular testing and temperature screening.
While this is good news for fans of the game, AFL might not look exactly how you're used to seeing it – the recently released 'national principles' on sport and recreation, a framework for restarting post-lockdown activities unveiled on May 1, note that it's likely that sports will need to remain "spectator-free" for the foreseeable future.
The grand final is expected to be contested in mid to late October.