BALLARAT is set to host this weekend's round 20 AFL fixture between the Western Bulldogs and Adelaide, but it is not known whether crowds will be allowed at the game.
Mars Stadium has been given the green light to host the game on Saturday afternoon with the unusual starting time of 12.20pm, with the Western Bulldogs getting their wish to play in Ballarat.
It is understood the AFL has placed a request with the state government to be able to have up to 25 per cent crowds in attendance, gradually building to 85 per cent over coming weeks, in a hope of securing the grand final for the MCG.
The club confirmed late on Monday night it will return to Ballarat this weekend, but was unable to give details of what, or if any crowd, will be permitted at the game.
IN OTHER NEWS
Victoria's lockdown which is expected to be eased on Tuesday, is likely to see the reopening of retail and restaurants to limited numbers and most likely schools as well.
But after recent cases of the infectious Delta variant, which came from Sydney, were detected at sporting venues including the MCG at an AFL match and at AAMI Park, it is expected that more caution will be taken before the reopening of sports stadiums to the public.
The game will be the third at Mars Stadium this year after the Bulldogs hosted Brisbane Lions in round four. The other match was played between GWS Giants and Gold Coast earlier this month.
A number of AFL games and venues remain up in the air as the league waits on various directives from state governments.
The league is also trying to create a travel corridor for clubs from Victoria to Tasmania and Queensland allowing for matches to be played in those two states involving Victoria and South Australian teams.
Should the AFL be forced to play the majority of games in Victoria, Mars could also be in the running for the North Melbourne v Geelong match, scheduled for Blundstone Arena in Hobart.
That game is expected to be given the go-ahead to be played on Saturday afternoon in Tasmania with the clubs to fly in and out to a venue they can guarantee a crowd at. But Mars Stadium could be an 11th hour choice if Tasmania refuses to open the corridor.
Cats coach Chris Scott weighed in on the match at his press-conference on Sunday saying Victoria seemed a logical stage for the game in the current climate, given the match was between two Victorian teams.
As it is North Melbourne's home game, the match would not be able to be held in Geelong.
The clash between GWS Giants and Port Adelaide also needs a home with the Giants having enjoyed Ballarat hospitality early this month. Mars Stadium hosted GWS Giants against Gold Coast earlier this season.
Friday, July 30
St Kilda v Carlton at Marvel Stadium, 7.50pm AEST (SEVEN)
Saturday, July 31
Western Bulldogs v Adelaide at Mars Stadium, 12.30pm AEST (FOX)
North Melbourne v Geelong at Blundstone Arena, 1.15pm AEST (FOX)
Gold Coast v Melbourne at TBC, 3.10pm AEST (FOX)
Collingwood v West Coast at the MCG, 4.15pm AEST (FOX)
Essendon v Sydney Swans at the Gabba, 7.40pm AEST (SEVEN)
Sunday, August 1
Hawthorn v Brisbane at UTAS Stadium, 2.10pm AEST (FOX)
GWS Giants v Port Adelaide at TBC, 3.10pm AEST (FOX)
Fremantle v Richmond at Optus Stadium, 3.10pm AWST (FOX)