The AFL has confirmed Fremantle’s round eight fixture against Brisbane this Sunday will move from Optus Stadium to the Gabba, with Freo to be the host club when the two sides meet in round 21.

The Club will remain in Queensland before flying to Victoria for the round 9 clash against Essendon, and will then return to Perth for the round 10 fixture against Sydney at Optus Stadium.

The decision comes as the WA State Government continues to manage and monitor the presence of COVID-19 in the Perth and Peel regions.

Fremantle CEO Simon Garlick said the decision was the right outcome for both the Club and the AFL competition.

“The current COVID-19 situation in WA doesn’t yet allow for the certainty of crowds in attendance at Optus Stadium this weekend,” Garlick said.

“For two consecutive weeks we have played with no supporters in the stands and this fixture swap gives us the best chance to play in front of our faithful members and fans in full voice later in the season.

“From a football perspective, these last two games we’ve had at Optus Stadium mean that travelling a week ahead of schedule is not an issue.

“It gives us a chance to go on the road as a group, take on a quality opponent and significantly increase our chances of an unaffected home game in the back end of our fixture.

“Understandably some members might be disappointed they won’t be able to cheer us on in person this Sunday, but we trust they will support the swap as a way of giving ourselves the best chance to play in front of them later in the season.”

With Fremantle originally scheduled to travel and play Brisbane in round 21 at the Gabba, Garlick noted the ability to swap ensured that Fremantle’s season and the AFL competition could continue uninterrupted.

“There is the risk that more community cases occur in the coming days, which could impact Brisbane entering or leaving WA, along with our ability to travel interstate,” Garlick said.

“Today’s decision minimises the risk of potential disruption in coming weeks.”

Fremantle will continue to be led by the advice of respective governments, public health officials and the AFL with the health and safety of everyone in the game and the wider community remaining the priority.

The day and time for the Round Eight match-up remains unchanged with the game against the Brisbane Lions to commence at 4:40pm AEST on Sunday, 9 May.