Fixture whispers: Double-headers on way
The AFL is finalising plans for multiple double-headers featuring men's and women's matches next year amid a major fixture overlap.
The league this afternoon confirmed its 2020 Marsh Community Series fixture, with each men's team playing two pre-season matches between February 20 and March 9.
More details on the expanded 2020 AFLW fixture are expected to be announced later today, but AFL general manager of broadcasting and fixture boss Travis Auld said double-headers with men's matches were on the cards.
"The AFLW season will run through the pre-season competition and into the men's (home-and-away) competition," Auld said.
"We're certainly planning to have a few double-headers, both in the pre-season competition and the men's home-and-away. Clubs have been really, really keen to make that work. It's complicated in some ways with different venues and travel schedules, but we'll get a number in there."
The AFL Women's fixture will be announced on Tuesday morning, with Round 1 set to kick off on Friday, February 7.
It is understood that Carlton had pressed for its clash with Richmond to be played before the two teams' traditional Round 1 face-off in the men's competition, but that was not fulfilled.
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The men's pre-season competition sees St Kilda return to Moorabbin, with the Saints set to open the series against Hawthorn at RSEA Park.
"It's been a big thing for their football club, the return to Moorabbin," Auld said.
"They've invested a lot of energy and with support of government have got themselves some really good facilities there. You'll also see a number of women's games played at Moorabbin so it's a real home of football for them in pre-season and throughout the AFLW competition."
Carlton will also host a game at Ikon Park against the Brisbane Lions, while Richmond will meet Greater Western Sydney in a Grand Final rematch in Wagga Wagga.
"We don't often do that in the pre-season competition," Auld said.
"Early on we'll get a quick taste of the Giants, who I think are pretty keen to play Richmond as soon as they can after their performance in the last game of the year."
Auld said the league was putting the "finishing touches" on the men's home-and-away season fixture, which is due for release on Thursday.
"It's been a really interesting exercise, both for pre-season and home-and-away," he said.
"With such an even competition now, working out where to place those games is a really great opportunity and really exciting as we look ahead to next year but it's made it a bit challenging.
"The ability to look forward and know in Round 17 or 18 next year who you think's going to be the right team to put on Friday night is probably a little more difficult now it's an even competition but it also means you're going to have some surprises and end up with a whole number of match-ups right throughout the year."