Fox Footy and Herald Sun journalist Jon Ralph has announced on Sunday afternoon that the Melbourne Cricket Ground will once again miss out on the chance to host the Grand Final for the second successive season.
The showpiece event was moved north to Brisbane last season after the Victorian capital was struck hard by Covid-19, and with the current climate looking unlikely to allow for a packed crowd to fill the 'G's gunnels by late September, it appears certain that the decider will make its way across the Nullarbor to Perth.
Ralph confirmed as much in a statement on Fox Footy.
"Melbourne's escalating Covid numbers - with 25 new cases and more mystery cases - means that the AFL will almost certainly play its Grand Final in Perth at Optus Stadium," the journalist said.
"[There's] a strong likelihood that the AFL's pre-finals bye will be scrapped and then the last two weeks of [finals] football will be played over in Perth at Optus Stadium."
— Fox Footy (@FOXFOOTY) August 15, 2021
The news breaker also reported that the final round of the regular season will see the Bulldogs face Port Adelaide at Marvel Stadium on Friday night before the Swans and Suns, Crows and Roos, Cats and Demons and Lions and Eagles will commence their respective clashes on Saturday.
The following day will see Essendon face old foes Collingwood at an empty MCG ahead of Carlton's clash with the Giants at Marvel before St Kilda rounds out it's disappointing season against finals aspirants Fremantle.
Ralph did state that due to the league's desire to have a blockbuster finish, several of the timeslots and host venues were yet to be finalised.
FULL FIXTURE AS IT STANDS