THE AFL has been forced to slice two games off the VFL fixture due to the ongoing uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic around Australia.
The competition was originally scheduled to feature all 22 clubs playing 16 matches in a 19-round home-and-away season, but lockdowns in Victoria in May and now in NSW have made that impossible to achieve in the remaining timeframe.
All clubs will now play 14 games across the same 19 rounds, with the top eight finals structure to remain unchanged, starting on Saturday, August 28, ahead of the Grand Final on Sunday, September 19, which returns to Marvel Stadium after being played at Ikon Park in 2019.
With clubs having played between seven and nine matches across the first 12 rounds, it means some only have five games left to press their finals claims, starting with Friday night’s top eight-shaping contest between Frankston and Port Melbourne at Skybus Stadium.
"The VFL community has shown great resilience, commitment and dedication to get through an unprecedented year for football," AFL Head of Talent Pathways and State League Competitions Tristan Salter said.
"The season has been different, but the rivalries are fierce, the standard is exceptionally high, and the addition of new clubs has provided a competition like no other.
"The VFL football-starved community of fans across Victoria, NSW and Queensland has been rewarded with the highest standard of state league football in the country this season and there is much for fans to look forward to as we push towards the finals."
The Casey Demons will travel to Werribee this Saturday to take on the Tigers at Avalon Airport Oval.
The match will get underway at 1:05pm, with live coverage on Kayo's Freebies service. You can also follow the game on the VFL Match Centre or via the Casey Demons social media accounts.