AFL shifts Melbourne matches to Tasmania

Tasmania will host two AFL games on the same weekend for the first time in round 14 after the league moved more fixtures away from Melbourne amid ongoing COVID-19 issues.

North Melbourne will host Brisbane at Hobart's Blundstone Arena on Saturday, with Hawthorn to play Essendon at Launceston's UTAS Stadium on Sunday.

Tasmania premier Peter Gutwein described the decision as "a win for Tassie football fans" - but the switch means Melbourne will not host an AFL match for a third straight week.

It comes after the Victorian government ruled matches could go ahead in the state without crowds this week.

Friday night's blockbuster clash between premiership contenders Geelong and the Western Bulldogs will be played in front of empty stands at GMHBA Stadium.

"While it is disappointing we are unable to host games in front of crowds in Victoria during round 14, we hope the situation continues to trend favourably so we can welcome back members and supporters as soon as possible," AFL fixtures boss Travis Auld said.

"The decision to relocate two games to Hobart and Launceston was made in close consultation with each respective home team and the Tasmanian Government, having regard to the broader connection each home club has in Tasmania and to allow for members and supporters in Tasmania to attend the games."

Melbourne-based teams North Melbourne, Hawthorn and Essendon have agreed strict travel arrangements and other protocols with the Tasmanian government.

They will take charter flights in and out of Tasmania on their respective match days.

There are no additional protocols in place for Brisbane because they are travelling from Queensland.

Geelong had a big say in the decision not to move the Western Bulldogs clash away from their home ground.

The match of the round pits third against second in a highly anticipated contest that would ordinarily have attracted a large crowd.

"The decision to continue to play this match at GMHBA Stadium was made in consultation with the home team and was in line with their preference not to move the game," Auld said.

"We will continue to closely monitor the situation in Victoria and work with the Victorian Government and other state and territory governments, with the fixture remaining a week-to-week proposition for now."