Dublin rounds on EU trade chief Hogan after TV interview misfires – POLITICO


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Ireland’s government on Tuesday night sharply criticized EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan after a TV interview that only inflamed questions about his breaches of coronavirus rules in the past weeks.

Hogan’s appearance on the broadcaster RTÉ was intended to lay to rest a ballooning scandal that centers on how Hogan and other Irish bigwigs last week attended a packed a golf society dinner in defiance of pandemic regulations.

Instead, only hours after publicly assuring European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen that he had fully complied with Ireland’s laws, Hogan landed himself in hot water by insisting upon an apparently incorrect interpretation of rules for people returning from Belgium.

In a statement carried by Irish media, the government of Prime Minister Micheál Martin and deputy premier Leo Varadkar said it was “clear that breaches of public health guidelines were made” by Hogan and added that his “delayed and hesitant release of information undermined public confidence.” Stressing that concerns remained, the leaders added people were “correctly angered by his actions.”

The damning government statement stressed he should have quarantined himself for 14 days on return from Belgium on July 31 — something Hogan disputed in the TV interview. The country’s leaders also said he should never have attended the golf event and should only have visited the locked down county of Kildare for “essential” travel, seemingly querying his need to go there.

Dublin said that it would now await the outcome of a review into Hogan’s conduct by von der Leyen.

Hogan’s peripatetic travels and golf fixtures round Ireland have not only sparked huge anger in a country where much of the population is limiting access to friends and family, but now gives von der Leyen a major political headache.

Under increasing pressure from Dublin, she must decide whether she needs to make a sign of democratic accountability by taking action against one of the most powerful members of her team.  Much will depend on whether she believes Hogan misunderstood Ireland’s rules, or whether she reckons he willfully misinterpreted them.

The European Commission president’s spokesperson Dana Spinant told reporters on Monday: “[Von der Leyen] does expect commissioners to comply with the same rules as citizens do.”

Back from Belgium

In the interview on Tuesday evening, Hogan appeared to make a significant error over whether he was obliged to go into quarantine on returning from Belgium.

He repeatedly stressed throughout the interview that because he had tested negative for COVID-19 during an unexpected hospital procedure on August 5, he was freed from the requirement to self-isolate for 14 days after entering the country from Belgium on July 31.

“It’s there in black and white, if you do not have COVID-19 and you’re tested negatively, you are not obliged to self-isolate,” Hogan said, claiming the advice is “clearly stated” on a government website.

“I didn’t put anyone at risk because I had already been tested for COVID-19,” he said.

Hogan admitted that the affair was “a very big embarrassment,” during the interview, but his attempt to show contrition and empathy for the sacrifices made by the Irish people were soon swallowed up in a torrent of confused argumentation about Ireland’s travel advice.

Ireland’s Health Service Executive clarified on Tuesday that the requirement to self-isolate for the full two week period still stands regardless of any COVID-19 test results.

“It can take up to 14 days for the virus to show up in your system after you have been exposed to it,” the HSE said in a tweet.

In the public report he submitted to von der Leyen earlier on Tuesday, the commissioner said he traveled to Dublin to meet Deputy Prime Minister Varadkar on August 12 — within the 14-day period since he returned from Brussels on July 31. He also played golf in Limerick on August 13.

Ireland’s Citizens Information website, which Hogan referred to, does state that a negative test result means: “You do not have to self-isolate any longer.”

However, the same website also mentions a blanket quarantine for returnees: “You are expected to restrict your movements for 14 days after your arrival,” and warns people to “avoid contact with other people and social situations as much as possible.”

On Tuesday night it released a statement to clarify it is “not an official source of government information.”

The website of Ireland’s foreign affairs office also states that travelers returning from high-risk countries such as Belgium should self-isolate for 14 days.

But the Irishman testily pushed back against government-run websites, instead appealing to Irish citizens’ reasonableness.

“Are the state agencies saying that they’re giving wrong information to the citizens?” he asked.

When presented with the 14-day rule by the interviewer, Hogan simply said: “I don’t accept that.”

Reacting to the interview, Pearse Doherty, a member of the Sinn Féin opposition party, said Hogan was “simply wrong.”

“It took me less than 2 minutes on the HSE website to show very clearly that you have to restrict your movements for 14 days even if you have a negative test. Why? Because it can take up to 14 days for the virus to show up in your body. And a commissioner should know this,” he told RTÉ.

The Commission Spokesperson Spinant said von der Leyen was studying Hogan’s account of his movements, but could not comment on when she would reach a conclusion.

Hans von der Burchard contributed reporting.





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The free kick ladders after 12 rounds


Umpiring consistently seems to be a point of contention.

Especially this year when rules have been changed on the fly. (Does anyone actually understand holding the ball anymore?).

Some supporters swear that the umps are against them while some are lucky enough to see things fall the way of their beloved club.

Casting opinion aside, which teams are getting looked after the most and who are infringing more often than the others after 12 rounds?

We’ve delved into the numbers to give you all the data you need for that heated discussion with your mates who support rival clubs.

Below are a bunch of ladders – free kicks for, free kicks against and overall differential – plus the individuals on both sides of the free kick ledger.

Note: 10 clubs have played 12 games while eight have played 11 so averages are very important when assessing these numbers.

The Free Kicks For Ladder

North Melbourne remains on top of this ladder, as was the case when we last undertook this exercise following Round 4. They are the only side to be averaging in excess of 20 free kicks for per game.

Adelaide has also been receiving plenty of love from the umpires to sit in second position ahead of Collingwood who is again near the top of the free kick standings.

Brisbane, who sat 10th on this list two months ago, has moved up to fourth with GWS up from 12th to fifth.

West Coast, Hawthorn, Essendon and Geelong all appear to be on the nose with the umps. The fact the Eagles are bottom proves that the ‘noise of affirmation’ has not been a telling factor in 2020.

Club Frees For FF Avg.
North Melbourne 247 20.6
Adelaide 227 18.9
Collingwood 225 18.8
Brisbane 210 17.5
GWS Giants 208 18.9
Port Adelaide 207 17.3
Western Bulldogs 207 17.3
St Kilda 203 16.9
Sydney 200 18.2
Richmond 195 16.3
Gold Coast 191 15.9
Carlton 190 17.3
Melbourne 187 17
Fremantle 184 16.7
Geelong 181 15.1
Essendon 167 15.2
Hawthorn 166 15.1
West Coast 157 14.3

The Free Kicks Against Ladder

Geelong gives away more free kicks than any other team in the league, narrowly ahead of Richmond who has interestingly been tagged as ‘unsociable’ in recent times.

The Crows receive plenty of frees for but also have it go against them while the Hawks are constantly giving frees away. The Suns are also in the top five for illegal acts on the footy field.

At the other end of the scale, Fremantle draws the ire of the match officials the least amount of times just ahead of WA rivals the Eagles who, just remember, have received the fewest frees to go along with their second least frees against.

Club Frees Against FA Avg.
Geelong 227 18.9
Richmond 226 18.8
Adelaide 219 18.3
Hawthorn 216 19.6
Gold Coast 213 17.8
St Kilda 212 17.7
Brisbane 206 17.2
Carlton 204 18.5
GWS Giants 201 18.3
Western Bulldogs 197 16.4
Essendon 196 17.8
Sydney 189 17.2
Melbourne 189 17.2
North Melbourne 188 15.7
Collingwood 181 15.1
Port Adelaide 173 14.4
West Coast 160 14.5
Fremantle 155 14.1

The Free Kick Differential Ladder

Now we get onto the most important part of it.

The free kick differential ladder.

The Kangaroos are well ahead of the ledger with almost +60 free kicks in their favour with the Magpies sitting second on +44.

Actual ladder leaders Port Adelaide sits up the pointy end with a nice return of +34 with Fremantle at +29 the only club with a positive of more than 15.

The Hawks are at the foot of the standings with the Cats, Tigers, Bombers and Suns all frequently losing the free kick count.

Club Frees For Frees Against Differential
North Melbourne 247 188 59
Collingwood 225 181 44
Port Adelaide 207 173 34
Fremantle 184 155 29
Sydney 200 189 11
Western Bulldogs 207 197 10
Adelaide 227 219 8
GWS Giants 208 201 7
Brisbane 210 206 4
Melbourne 187 189 -2
West Coast 157 160 -3
St Kilda 203 212 -9
Carlton 190 204 -14
Gold Coast 191 213 -22
Essendon 167 196 -29
Richmond 195 226 -31
Geelong 181 227 -46
Hawthorn 166 216 -50

Individuals Frees For

Which players get the most love from the umpires?

It’s not too much of a surprise to see Brodie Grundy and Todd Goldstein sitting on top with most of their infringements taking place in ruck contests.

A bunch of midfielders led by Carlton co-captain Patrick Cripps as well as another ruckman in Melbourne skipper Max Gawn are prominent in the top 10.

Of this list, Cripps has given away the most (21) ahead of Grundy (19), Patrick Dangerfield and Jacob Hopper (both 16).

Player Club Frees For
Brodie Grundy COL 34
Todd Goldstein NM 32
Patrick Cripps CAR 26
Jack Viney MEL 23
Max Gawn MEL 23
Jack Macrae WB 22
Taylor Adams COL 21
Touk Miller GCS 20
Patrick Dangerfield GEE 20
Jacob Hopper GWS 19

Individuals Frees Against

And who infringes more than anyone else?

West Coast’s Elliot Yeo has there worst record with 25 frees against (and only five for), ahead of Cripps and Hawthorn’s Jaeger O’Meara.

Inexperienced ruckmen Sean Darcy and Ivan Soldo are yet to fully work out their craft but they shouldn’t feel too bad as Grundy is alongside them.

Essendon forward Shaun McKernan has given away 18 frees and only received four in return.

Player Club Frees Against
Elliot Yeo WCE 25
Patrick Cripps CAR 21
Jaeger O’Meara HAW 21
Sean Darcy FRE 20
Ivan Soldo RIC 19
Brodie Grundy COL 19
Jarrod Berry BRI 18
Ben Long STK 18
Rowan Marshall STK 18
Shaun McKernan ESS 18

All stats courtesy of AFL.com.au



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How each club will fare in the final rounds and who will make the eight


Port Adelaide
Hawthorn (AO), Sydney (AO), Bye, North Melbourne (MS), Essendon (AO), Collingwood (TBC)
Many pundits have been waiting for balloon to burst at Port Adelaide, but they just keep answering each challenge. They have at least three more games at home – all against teams outside the eight – and should stay top of the ladder.
Predicted finish: 1st

Brisbane Lions
St Kilda (G), Collingwood (G), Gold Coast (G), Sydney (CS), Carlton (TBC)
The Lions shouldn’t lose another game, with their clash against St Kilda in round 13 shaping as crucial. Percentage could decide whether they earn a home qualifying final.
Predicted finish: 3rd

Percentage is likely to have a big impact on Brisbane's chances of a home final.

Percentage is likely to have a big impact on Brisbane’s chances of a home final.Credit:Getty Images

Geelong
Adelaide (AO), Western Bulldogs (MS), Essendon (G), Richmond (MS), Sydney (TBC)
Three of the Cats’ final five games are against bottom-eight teams and they’ll start favourites against the Western Bulldogs. Look a shoo-in to finish top four.
Predicted finish: 4th

West Coast
GWS (OS), Richmond (MS), Essendon (G), Western Bulldogs (MS), St Kilda (G), North Melbourne (TBC)
The Eagles are coming off seven wins in a row and will start favourite in all of their last five games, but still face teams who could be fighting for a spot in the eight. Win all five and they should finish equal top with Port. Percentage in their final game, against North, might be crucial.
Predicted finish: 2nd

St Kilda
Brisbane Lions (G), Melbourne (TP), Hawthorn (MS), West Coast (G), GWS (TBC)
We’re about to find out what the Saints are really made of. Will likely go in underdogs against both Brisbane and West Coast and the Melbourne game is 50/50. The way this season is going, they could win four of their last five – or lose them. Pencil in a win against Hawthorn.
Predicted finish: 6th

Richmond
Essendon (TIO), West Coast (MS), Fremantle (MS), Geelong (MS), Adelaide (TBC)
The Tigers have bankable wins against Fremantle and Adelaide, and 10 and a half wins should put them inside the eight comfortably enough. A win against either West Coast or Geelong could mean the Tigers earn a home final but a top-four finish is a big ask from here.
Predicted finish: 7th

Collingwood
North Melbourne (G), Carlton (G), Brisbane Lions (G), Gold Coast (G), Port Adelaide (TBC)
With the Magpies slowly getting players back from injury, it’s the games against Carlton and Gold Coast that appear crucial in their quest for finals. Win both and that might be enough to scrape into the eight.
Predicted finish: 10th

Collingwood's matches against Carlton and Gold Coast are likely to decide their finals fate.

Collingwood’s matches against Carlton and Gold Coast are likely to decide their finals fate.Credit:Getty Images

Melbourne
Western Bulldogs (MS), St Kilda (TP), Sydney (CS), Fremantle (CS), GWS (G), Essendon (TBC)
With a relatively friendly run home, the Demons should start favourites in at least four of their final six matches. Even if they lose to the Saints in round 14, Simon Goodwin’s team should play finals and could even host an elimination final.
Predicted finish: 5th

GWS
West Coast (OS), Fremantle (OS), Carlton (MS), Adelaide (AO), Melbourne (G), St Kilda (TBC)
How can you possibly trust GWS to beat anyone after what they displayed against Sydney? Even so, there’s too much talent in this team not to account for Fremantle and Adelaide. The Carlton game shapes as crucial and if they beat the Blues, their round 18 game against St Kilda could be for a finals spot.
Predicted finish: 9th

GWS could miss finals after making the grand final last year.

GWS could miss finals after making the grand final last year.Credit:Getty Images

Western Bulldogs
Melbourne (MS), Geelong (MS), West Coast (MS), Hawthorn (AO), Fremantle (TBC)
Despite dispatching the Crows on the weekend, it’s hard to find a win for the Bulldogs in their next three games. Melbourne have won their last three games by 50+ points, Geelong are dominating and West Coast have won seven on the trot. Looks like they’ve left their run a bit late.
Predicted finish: 11th

Essendon
Richmond (TIO), Hawthorn (AO), West Coast (G), Geelong (G), Port Adelaide (AO), Melbourne TBC
The Bombers have been incredibly unlucky with their run of injuries. They should easily account for Hawthorn this week but will go in as underdogs in their final four games. Even with an upset (or two), it’s hard to make a case for them playing finals this year.
Predicted finish: 13th

Carlton
Gold Coast (TIO), Collingwood (G), Giants (MS), Sydney (MS), Adelaide (MS), Brisbane Lions (TBC)
Although they sit 12th on the ladder, the Blues have a pretty healthy percentage and that may be vital come the final rounds. Will probably have to win two of their next three but should get Jack Martin and Mitch McGovern back during that time. Should be knocking on the door.
Predicted finish: 8th

Gold Coast
Carlton (TIO), North Melbourne (MS), Brisbane Lions (G), Collingwood (G), Hawthorn (TBC)
After a classy first half against Richmond, they fell away in the second half and the question has to be asked; how much is left in the tank? Should beat North and Hawthorn but hard to make a case for them climbing up the ladder.
Predicted finish: 12th

Fremantle
Sydney (OS), GWS (OS), Richmond (MS), Melbourne (CS), North Melbourne (MS), Western Bulldogs (TBC)
Jack Newnes probably ended any faint hope the Dockers had of playing finals in 2020. Would have to win almost all remaining six games and even then they’re no certainty. Should finish on six wins in Justin Longmuir’s first season.
Predicted finish: 14th

Sydney
Fremantle (OS), Port Adelaide (AO), Melbourne (CS), Carlton (MS), Brisbane Lions (CS), Geelong (TBC)
A win against Fremantle would make it two impressive victories on the trot for John Longmire’s young side. But an ominous trip to Adelaide to take on Port could all but end their season. Not many had them finals contenders at the beginning of the season and they’ve unearthed some impressive youngsters.
Predicted finish: 15th

Hawthorn
Port Adelaide (AO), Essendon (AO), Adelaide (AO), St Kilda (MS), Western Bulldogs (AO), Gold Coast (TBC)
An ACL injury to arguably their most important player in James Sicily is salt in the wound for frustrated Hawthorn fans. It’s conceivable they don’t win another game, with an Adelaide Oval clash against the Crows looming as their best chance. The Hawks should have their first top-five pick in the draft in a very long time.
Predicted finish: 16th

North Melbourne
Collingwood (G), Gold Coast (MS), Port Adelaide (MS), Fremantle (MS), West Coast (TBC)
After winning their first two games of the season, North have managed just one win in their last nine. They’ll give themselves a chance against Collingwood, Gold Coast and Fremantle but 2021 can’t come quickly enough for Rhyce Shaw.
Predicted finish: 17th

Adelaide
Geelong (AO), Hawthorn (AO), GWS (AO), Carlton (MS), Richmond (TBC)
Not many would’ve predicted Adelaide playing finals in 2020, but even fewer would have had them winless after 12 games. Matthew Nicks’ side has shown glimpses throughout the season, but never for four quarters. A home game against a struggling Hawthorn side without James Sicily will be their best chance to break the drought.
Predicted finish: 18th

The games that could shape the eight

There are nine games of the remaining fixtures that could have a very big say on the make-up of the eight. From “eight-point” games to meetings between old enemies, these are the games that are set to have the biggest impact in the run home.

Round 13: Brisbane Lions v St Kilda (G)
This could be the difference between making the top four and not for the Saints, who have a tricky run home. Hard to go past the Lions at the Gabba.

Round 14: Richmond v West Coast (MS)
A genuine eight-point game. An Eagles win will edge them closer to a top-two finish, but a Richmond victory could see the Tigers earn a “home” final. Won’t find too many tipping against West Coast right now.

Round 14: Melbourne v St Kilda (TP)
The Demons have a shocking record against St Kilda, having beaten them just three times since 2007. Will the madness of 2020 outweigh the history books? This game is likely to decide who finishes higher on the ladder.

St Kilda have had the Dees' measure for a long time.

St Kilda have had the Dees’ measure for a long time.Credit:Getty Images

Round 14: Carlton v Collingwood (G)
Imagine the hype around this game if it was at the MCG? Two famous rivals looking to potentially end each other’s season. It’s a toss of the coin right now, but the Blues have been in better form.

Round 15: GWS v Carlton (MS)
The Giants have only lost to Carlton once since 2014 and have won the last two contests by a combined 198 points. It’s another 50/50 contest and it could decide who finishes eighth and ninth.

Round 17: St Kilda v West Coast (G)
They’re currently fifth and fourth, respectively, and both teams should be around the mark by round 17. The Saints have been in terrific form but another top-four team in Geelong recently put them to the sword. It would take a brave person to tip against the Eagles.

Round 17: Geelong v Richmond (MS)
This will be a replay of last year’s preliminary final and Richmond could still be in the hunt to make the top four. Tom Hawkins against a raw Noah Balta could be a fascinating duel, but the Cats will start warm favourites.

Geelong and Richmond will meet in a preliminary final rematch that will have implications on the make-up of the eight.

Geelong and Richmond will meet in a preliminary final rematch that will have implications on the make-up of the eight.Credit:Getty Images

Round 17: GWS v Melbourne (G)
Another must-win for the Giants as they try to make up for an awful start to the season. But unlike GWS, the Demons have started to hit their straps. Simon Goodwin’s team should be trying to cement a home final by this stage and should be winning.

Round 18: St Kilda v GWS (TBC)
With Carlton facing a tough final game against Brisbane, GWS could ultimately need to beat the Saints to play finals. By the same token, St Kilda may need a win and percentage to sneak into the top four or cement a “home” final. Saints could put the final nail in the Giants’ coffin.

Who has the easiest run home by the numbers?

Champion Data has crunched the numbers on the remaining games of the season and this is the verdict: the Blues have the easiest final stretch, while the Western Bulldogs have the toughest run.

Champion Data uses a system based on Pythagorean wins that is essentially how like you are to win against an average team. For example: Adelaide is the easiest team to play because they would only win nine per cent of their games against average teams. So playing Adelaide is worth 91 per cent of a win.

Here, teams are ranked in order of most predicted wins to least.

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AFL unveils final five rounds of home-and-away season


Matches in this updated period will be held in Adelaide, Perth, the Northern Territory and Queensland, including three in Cairns. Ten teams will have byes in the rounds 14 to 17 block.

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That the Tigers will face the Eagles at Metricon Stadium is an advantage for the defending champions, with those clubs playing the second of two matches that kick off the second “festival of football” on Thursday, August 27. The Bombers and Hawks will meet in the earlier match, at Adelaide Oval.

Collingwood will tackle Carlton and the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba in rounds 14 and 15.

Perth’s Optus Stadium will host its final home-and-away match in round 14, before the Dockers and Eagles leave their state.

The Bombers and Melbourne had been due to clash in round three but this was postponed after Conor McKenna’s positive COVID-19 test. While it will now be staged in the final round, a venue has yet to be set.

Travis Auld, the AFL’s chief of clubs and broadcasting, said this latest block of matches had been the most challenging yet.

“In many ways this block of games has been the most challenging to complete, given the intricacies of a compression phase combined with the reduced flexibility attached to the back end of the fixture. Every aspect of the fixture has a flow on impact at this point which makes achieving the right balance of factors and constraints especially difficult.” he said.

“These are unprecedented times and the fixture this year has reflected the unique challenges presented across season.”

Auld said clubs and players were enjoying playing more often, and this was represented in a spike in average audience numbers.

“The feedback from clubs, players, broadcasters and fans has been supportive of the initial compression phase of rounds nine to 12. Clubs and players are enjoying playing more often and viewership remains very strong, with the average audience per game up 14 per cent,” he said.

“Scheduling a second compression phase allows us to again play more matches in a shorter period of time as the majority of clubs continue to live in a hub environment.”

In the run home to the finals, the Eagles will have two four-day breaks, while Melbourne, Fremantle, Carlton, St Kilda, Greater Western Sydney and Brisbane have one.

“Across both compression periods, no club will have more than three four-day breaks,” Auld said.

“In constructing this block of matches, we have focused on ensuring the teams with four-day breaks are, where possible, minimising travel in and around those matches. As in the previous compression period, teams who have four-day breaks in this block will not play against a team who is coming off a seven-day break, or more.”

Depending if there is a pre-finals bye, the grand final is set to be staged on Saturday, October 17 (Caulfield Cup day) or on Saturday, October 24 (Cox Plate day) should the bye, introduced ahead of the 2016 finals in a 23-round season, be retained.

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Round 14

Thursday, August 27
Hawthorn v Essendon, Adelaide Oval, 4.40pm AEST, 4.10pm ACST
Richmond v West Coast, Metricon Stadium, 7.10pm AEST
Friday, August 28
Western Bulldogs v Geelong, Metricon Stadium, 7.50pm AEST
Saturday, August 29
Port Adelaide v Sydney, Adelaide Oval, 1.45pm AEST, 1.15pm ACST
Fremantle v Greater Western Sydney, Optus Stadium, 4.35pm AEST, 2.35pm ACST
Melbourne v St Kilda, TIO Traeger Park, 7.40pm AEST, 7.10pm ACST
Sunday, August 30
Carlton v Collingwood, The Gabba, 3.35pm AEST
Gold Coast v North Melbourne, Metricon Stadium, 6.10pm AEST
Byes: Adelaide, Brisbane

Round 15

Tuesday, September 1
Hawthorn v Adelaide, Adelaide Oval, 5.40pm AEST, 5.10pm ACST
West Coast v Essendon, The Gabba, 8.10pm AEST
Wednesday, September 2
Richmond v Fremantle, Metricon Stadium, 7.10pm AEST
Thursday, September 3
Sydney v Melbourne, Cazaly’s Stadium, 4.40pm AEST
Greater Western Sydney v Carlton,Metricon Stadium, 7.10pm AEST
Friday, September 4
Brisbane v Collingwood, The Gabba (SEVEN) 7.50pm AEST
Byes: Geelong, Gold Coast, North Melbourne, Port Adelaide, St Kilda, Western Bulldogs

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Round 16

Saturday, September 5
North Melbourne v Port Adelaide, Metricon Stadium, 7.40pm AEST
Sunday, September 6
St Kilda v Hawthorn, Metricon Stadium, 1.05pm AEST
Geelong v Essendon, The Gabba, 3.35pm AEST
Western Bulldogs v West Coast, Metricon Stadium, 6.10pm AEST
Monday, September 7
Melbourne v Fremantle, Cazaly’s Stadium, 7.10pm AEST
Tuesday, September 8
Adelaide v Greater Western Sydney, Adelaide Oval, 5.40pm AEST, 5.10pm ACST
Carlton v Sydney, Metricon Stadium, 8.10pm AEST
Wednesday, September 9
Brisbane Lions v Gold Coast, The Gabba, 7.10pm AEST
Byes: Collingwood, Richmond

Round 17

Thursday, September 10
St Kilda v West Coast, The Gabba, 7.10pm AEST
Friday, September 11
Geelong v Richmond, Metricon Stadium, 7.50pm AEST
Saturday, September 12
North Melbourne v Fremantle, Metricon Stadium, 1.45pm AEST
Port Adelaide v Essendon, Adelaide Oval, 4.35pm AEST, 4.05pm ACST
Greater Western Sydney v Melbourne, The Gabba, 7.40pm AEST
Sunday, September 13
Carlton v Adelaide, Metricon Stadium, 1.05pm AEST
Hawthorn v Western Bulldogs, Adelaide Oval, 3.35pm AEST, 3.05pm ACST
Sydney v Brisbane, Cazaly’s Stadium, 6.10pm AEST
Monday, September 14
Collingwood v Gold Coast, The Gabba, 7.10pm AEST

Round 18 (all venues, times TBC)

Adelaide v Richmond
Brisbane v Carlton
Collingwood v Port Adelaide
Essendon v Melbourne
Fremantle v Western Bulldogs
Hawthorn v Gold Coast
North Melbourne v West Coast
St Kilda v Greater Western Sydney
Sydney v Geelong

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Western Bulldogs undaunted by AFL’s condensed fixture for rounds nine to 12


Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge is embracing the AFL’s condensed fixturing, saying he and his players are approaching rounds nine to 12 with a “sense of adventure”.

The AFL announced there would be 33 matches across 20 days of consecutive football from next Wednesday, with the Bulldogs and Richmond kicking off the marathon schedule in Carrara.

Following the Tigers encounter, the Bulldogs will play the Power in Adelaide (August 3) and Brisbane at the Gabba (August 8), meaning they face three current top-four teams in the space of 11 days.

They then face Adelaide in Carrara on August 16 as part of the round 12 fixture.

Beveridge said the Bulldogs, placed ninth on the ladder at the moment, were up for the challenge.

“There’s a sense of adventure attached to the tight turnarounds and flying by the seat of our pants,” said Beveridge, who was preparing his players for Thursday night’s match against Gold Coast.

“It’s quite exciting. As far as the ladder positions go, we’ve got some teams coming up who are up in the top end, so there’s some great challenges and opportunities for us.”

The Western Bulldogs AFL coach leaves the field after a quarter-time address with his players in the background.
Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge has welcomed the challenge facing his squad.(AAP: Scott Barbour)

Beveridge said most clubs would feel similarly about what lay ahead.

“It’s breaking new ground, it’s exciting for the code and the competition and that’s the way we will look at it and translate it,” he said.

Beveridge said he expected his players would want to play every match possible, given the AFL season was shortened because of the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

He said the shorter matches and longer breaks between goals and quarters had helped players, and he would rely on a mix of their honesty and data to make selection decisions during the compressed season.

“Significantly it will be the players themselves and how they’re feeling and the feedback we get from them,” Beveridge said.

“No-one is looking for a break, especially when there’s only 17 games before the possibility of playing in a final.”

Beveridge said AFL coaches were consulted on the draw before it was announced.

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2020 AFL season set to resume with huge blockbusters as league’s fixture boss Travis Auld confirms fixtures for rounds two to five


The 2020 AFL season will re-commence with a bang after AFL Fixtures Boss Travis Auld confirmed a blockbuster round two schedule.

Competition heavyweights Collingwood and Richmond will officially resume the disrupted 2020 season with a Thursday night epic, while West Coast will tackle Gold Coast and the Dockers take on Lachie Neale’s Lions.

Both matches involving WA clubs will take place on Saturday June 13, while the traditional Easter Monday clash between Hawthorn and Geelong headlines the first Friday night clash of the competition’s restart.

The match, to be hosted at the Cattery, will be Hawthorn’s first trip to GMHBA Stadium since 2006.

The South Australian Showdown will also feature in round two, with the Crows and Power to join the Gold Coast hub after the round two clash.

Camera IconTravis Auld, Fixtures Boss (left) and Gillon McLachlan, Chief Executive Officer of the AFL (right). Credit: Michael Willson/AFL Media

Auld released the revised schedule up to round five, with the Eagles squaring off against the Lions in round three, Port Adelaide in round four and interestingly, the Tigers in round five.

West Coast will be considered the ‘home team’ for their clash against the reigning premiers at Metricon Stadium.

Meanwhile, the Dockers will lock horns with Port Adelaide in round three, the Suns in round four and the Crows in round five.

Fremantle will be considered the ‘home team’ for their clash against the Power.

After round five, both WA clubs remain hopeful of returning to the west, which is reliant on the state of WA’s hard border closure enforced by premier Mark McGowan.

SEE THE FULL ROUND TWO FIXTURES BELOW

Thursday, June 11

Collingwood vs Richmond, MCG

Friday, June 12

Geelong vs Hawthorn, GMHBA Stadium

Saturday June 13

Brisbane vs Fremantle, Gabba

Carlton vs Melbourne, Marvel Stadium

Port Adelaide vs Adelaide, Adelaide Oval

Gold Coast vs West Coast, Metricon

Sunday, June 14

Sydney vs Essendon, SCG

GWS vs North Melbourne, Giants Stadium

St Kilda vs Western Bulldogs, Marvel Stadium



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NRL season will resume on May 28 with Brisbane v Parramatta, as the league reveals games for rounds three and four


The NRL has taken another step towards its season restart, revealing the games that will make up rounds three and four when play resumes later this month.

When the season was halted after just two completed rounds, there were six undefeated teams — Parramatta, Newcastle, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane and Penrith.

The league has decided that two of those teams, Parramatta and Brisbane, will kick off the rest of the season on Thursday May 28.

The match, which will be played in Queensland, will be the first time the Eels and Broncos have met since Parramatta beat Brisbane 58-0 in an elimination final last September.

South Sydney will take on arch-rivals Sydney Roosters on Friday May 29.

On the Saturday, the Dragons will face the Warriors, followed by Cronulla v Wests Tigers, and then another blockbuster with Melbourne Storm playing Canberra.

Penrith will play Newcastle and Manly will meet the Bulldogs to complete round three on May 31.

The following weekend, round four will begin with the Broncos against the Roosters on Thursday night, June 4.

The NRL will return to the recent tradition of Friday night double-headers, with Penrith against the Warriors followed by the Storm taking on the Rabbitohs.

Parramatta and Manly will play on the Saturday starting at 5:30pm AEST, with the Cowboys and Sharks following two hours later.

The Raiders will play Newcastle on Sunday afternoon, then the Titans and Wests Tigers’ match will kick off at 6:30pm eastern time.

The round will conclude on the Queen’s Birthday public holiday in NSW with the Bulldogs and Dragons facing each other on the afternoon of Monday June 8.

All games will be played in Queensland and NSW — although venues are yet to be confirmed.

No teams with players refusing to take their flu shot will travel to Queensland in the opening two rounds, avoiding a possible headache for the NRL and its clubs.

ABC/AAP



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