Up to 7000 fans will be able to attend Geelong's AFL match against the Western Bulldogs after the Victorian government announced the easing of coronavirus restrictions.
Several restrictions will be eased across both metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria from 11.59pm on Thursday.
The AFL had earlier this week decided to play Friday's game at GMHBA Stadium with no fans but now a small crowd of up to 20 per cent capacity will be on hand for the top-four clash.
Tickets are only available to Geelong and Western Bulldogs members, while those attending must reside in the Greater Geelong, Surf Coast, Queenscliffe or Colac Otway local government areas.
"You've got to take the small wins when you can get them and 7000 is better than none," Geelong coach Chris Scott said.
"... in regional Victoria the world's been relatively open for a period of time, it's certainly been different in Melbourne, this seems like a win for common sense."
Acting Premier James Merlino and Victoria's Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said crowds were still unable to return to games in Melbourne.
"I'm hoping that we can get footy back to Melbourne as soon as possible," Professor Sutton said.
"I don't want it to be deferred any longer than it has to be, but I don't want us to be in a situation again, where there might be cases in the community going to the football with this Kappa variant or Delta variant, in particular."
There are no AFL games scheduled in the Victorian capital this week.
The AFL had previously moved North Melbourne's clash with Brisbane from Marvel Stadium to Hobart, while Hawthorn and Essendon will play in Launceston instead of at the MCG.
It is unclear what the decision regarding crowds in Melbourne means for the A-League and the NBL.
A-League premiers Melbourne City are scheduled to host Macarthur FC in their home semi-final at AAMI Park on Sunday.
Skipper Scott Jamieson said the game should be held in Melbourne regardless of whether crowds could attend.
"Ultimately we've earned the right to play the game at home so it should be played at home. Whether that's with crowds or not, I'm not too sure," Jamieson told SEN.
"The way the government has looked after the COVID this time has made it maybe possible for crowds - so we'll see how we go.
"... obviously I understand there's a commercial side of this business but at the end of the day, (if) you finish first, you should get the opportunity to play your home semi-final at home."
NBL minor premiers Melbourne United have earned the right to host three of the five-game grand final series against Perth Wildcats.
Perth are due to host the first two games this week with United's three home games yet to be scheduled.
Australian Associated Press