AFL 2021 fixture: Blues, Bombers out of favour, with Bulldogs, Sydney Swans potential winners
Sydney and the Western Bulldogs could be the big winners out of the AFL’s new flexible fixture as the COVID scare pushes back an expected update beyond Round 6 until next week.
But Essendon and Carlton will have to rapidly gain momentum so they are not shut out of marquee contests.
The league was set to reveal another two or three weeks of its new flexible fixture on Tuesday after initially only locking in six weeks.
Watch the 2021 Toyota AFL Premiership Season. Every match of every round Live on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14 Days Free Now >
Teams know their direct rival and venue after Round 6 but not the timeslot or day the game will be played.
AFL fixture boss Travis Auld said yesterday the league had structured the fixture that way to allow the them to navigate COVID.
It also allows them freedom to “flex” games into Thursday and Friday night slots that had not seemed appealing in the pre-season.
Things don’t look good for Essendon, which may see it fall out of favour for the Thursday and Friday night slots.Source:Getty Images
Sydney has become a must-watch team given its fleet of exciting young kids and the return of Lance Franklin.
And the Western Bulldogs play a high-octane, freewheeling game that is also particularly attractive to watch.
But clubs such as Carlton — which had hoped to jump from the blocks — could quickly be shut out of marquee contests unless they can show they have the wins to match their traditional pulling power for TV broadcasters.
Essendon has an away Friday night encounter against Sydney in Round 4 but also faces the prospect of an off-Broadway finish to the year given its expected struggles.
Auld admitted the Brisbane COVID cluster had affected the league’s fixture release plans.
“It might. I think it’s a good question. We had planned to release the next two or three weeks of fixture this week,” he said.
COVID CARNAGE: LIONS TO SPEND EXTENDED TIME IN VIC
THE TACKLE: ROBBO NAMES HIS LIKES AND DISLIKES FROM ROUND 2
STAR PIES ISOLATING AFTER COVID TESTS
AFL: Port Adelaide have beaten Essendon with ease, Orazio Fantasia grabbing the bragging rights over his former side….
AFL: Port Adelaide have beaten Essendon with ease, Orazio Fantasia grabbing the bragging rights over his former side.
“I asked (second in charge) Marcus King to have a look at the knock-on impacts of this. We will hold it off for a few days but I am not sure if that means next week.
“Certainly (better marquee contests) is the upside of building flexibility into the fixture.
“There is no better reminder of why we released six weeks of the schedule than what happened in the last 24 hours.
“The secondary benefit is we can respond to form and we have seen some upsets early on.
“We have more options on Thursday and Friday nights than what we might have realised going into the season.”
Round 7’s Essendon-Carlton clash might have been a perfect Friday night contest if the Dons agreed to play off five days break but suddenly Sydney-Geelong looks an enticing clash.
Originally published asBlues, Bombers failing ‘sex appeal’ test in ratings shake-up
Source: Read Full Article