Sun, Oct 23, 1:09pm by Jake Equid
On Sunday morning, the AFL released the fixture for round one and as always, there are a couple of mouth-watering match-ups to look forward to all summer long.
As expected, Richmond minus Brett Deledio and Carlton minus Zach Tuohy will open the season on Thursday night at the MCG, on March 23. It will be our first look at Giants trio Rhys Palmer, Caleb Marchbank and Jarrod Pickett in navy blue.
The debutants for the Tigers will include, fitness pending of course, Dion Prestia (Gold Coast), Toby Nankervis (Sydney), Josh Caddy (Geelong).
The following night, if selected, Travis Cloke will face his former team in his very first game as a Western Bulldog, when Collingwood and the reigning premiers meet at the MCG on Friday night.
On Saturday night, at the same venue, Essendon’s banned players to return on Saturday night against Hawthorn at the MCG.
For the Bombers, players such as Jobe Watson, Dyson Heppell, Michael Hurley and Cale Hooker will be looking to make their return from suspension by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Hawthorn will also likely field a very different team for the first game of the new season, with the Hawks losing – and gaining – some big names in this year’s trade period.
One of those who won’t be there, is Melbourne’s newest recruit Jordan Lewis who will be looking to make his debut for his new club against St Kilda at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Another ex-Hawk, Sam Mitchell, will likely be in the West Coast side to face North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium on Saturday. It will be weird to see him in different colours after 15 years in the brown and gold.
2016 runners-up, the Sydney Swans will host Port Adelaide at the SCG and Adelaide and early premiership favourites, GWS ($4.50) will go head-to-head at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday.
For the competition’s two Queensland clubs, it will be a Q-Clash at Metricon Stadium on Saturday night to open the season while Fremantle will host Geelong to close out the round on Sunday.
The Round One Fixture
Thursday, March 23
Carlton v Richmond, MCG
Friday, March 24
Collingwood v Western Bulldogs, MCG
Saturday, March 25
Sydney Swans v Port Adelaide, SCG
North Melbourne v West Coast, Etihad Stadium
Gold Coast v Brisbane Lions, Metricon Stadium
Essendon v Hawthorn, MCG
Sunday, March 26
Adelaide v Greater Western Sydney, Adelaide Oval
St Kilda v Melbourne, Etihad Stadium
Fremantle v Geelong, Patersons Stadium
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