Paul Bugeja, AFLFA staff writer
Over the past week, details of the AFL 2023 fixture have slowly been drip fed from head office.
The Round 1 fixture features some enticing match-ups.
The Blues once again meet the Tigers with a 7.20 pm season opener on Thursday, March 16 at the MCG.
Given how each side's seasons ended in 2022 and where they currently stand in terms of future premiership contention, this promises to be a massive way to kick off the season.
The night after, get ready for a clash of titans as the Cats meet the Pies, while later in the round on Sunday, March 19, one of the longstanding AFL grudge matches comes up earlier in the season than usual when the Bombers meet the Hawks in what will hopefully be another classic encounter between these sides.
The round is also full of first games for new coaches...and not so new!
Alistair Clarkson fronts up with his old side the Kangaroos to take on the Eagles at Marvel, while Adam Kingsley gets to show whether he was the right man for the job at Greater Western Sydney in an early Sydney derby. Next year's 'battle of the bridge' has the Giants taking on what will no doubt be a fired-up Swans unit wanting to let the competition know that their poor showing in the 2022 AFL Grand Final was an aberration and to watch out for them to challenge again in 2023.
Here are the full AFL 2023 fixture round one details:
Thursday, March 16
- Richmond v Carlton, MCG, 7.20 pm AEDT
Friday, March 17
- Geelong v Collingwood, MCG, 7.40 pm AEDT
Saturday, March 18
- North Melbourne v West Coast, Marvel Stadium, 1.45 pm AEDT
- Port Adelaide v Brisbane, Adelaide Oval, 4.05 pm ACDT
- Melbourne v Western Bulldogs, MCG, 7.25 pm AEDT
- Gold Coast v Sydney, Metricon Stadium, 7.00 pm AEST
Sunday, March 19
- GWS v Adelaide, Giants Stadium, 1.10 pm AEDT
- Hawthorn v Essendon, MCG, 3.20 pm AEDT
- St Kilda v Fremantle, Marvel Stadium, 4.40 pm AEDT
And looking ahead...
Jumping ahead, we've also learned a few other tidbits prior to the full 2023 fixture release.
Some traditional blockbusters are locked in, most notably the Hawks vs the Cats on Easter Monday and the Bombers and Pies on Anzac Day. One notable change early in the season is for the newish Good Friday fixture, with the Bulldogs losing the slot to the Blues, who will take on the Roos.
While the clubs have drafts of their home games so they can process memberships, the full season is likely to drop in the next few days and there could be some changes once the AFL gets feedback from the clubs.
Whichever way it falls, as of today, it's only 98 sleeps til the AFL 2023 fixture commences...but who's counting, right...?