Besides births, deaths, and marriages are there any other document that has an impact on our lives quite like the AFL Fixture? The answer is – no.
Footy fans all over Australia now have some meaning, structure, and purpose back in their lives with the release of the 2018 AFL Fixture.
Right now people are getting annoyed at friends and family for having weddings when their team is playing, expectant parents are hoping that children won’t be born on specific dates and some are looking at the Jetstar website to see if any deals coincide with when their team plays interstate.
We here at the Ladbrokes Blog have gone to the effort of breaking down the 2018 AFL fixture, so you don’t have to.
(We know you will have done so anyway but here just some of our “hot takes”)
Obvious Grudge Matches
Tom Rockliff (Port) v Brisbane Lions, Round 3
Steven Motlop (Port) v Geelong Cats, Round 5
Jack Watts (Port) v Melbourne, Round 14
Luke Hodge (Brisbane) v Hawthorn, Round 9
Jake Stringer (Essendon) v Western Bulldogs, Round 3
Gary Ablett (Geelong) v Gold Coast Suns, Round 11
Jake Lever (Melbourne) v Adelaide Crows, Round 19
Grand Final Rematch, Crows v Tigers, Round 2 & Round 16
First Match Perth Stadium, West Coast v Sydney Swans, Round 1
The Gold Coast Suns Have Five Home Grounds
With Metricon Stadium out of order due to the Commonwealth Games for the first half of the season the Suns will embark on an epic road (or plane) trip. They open their season against one time potential Gold Coast relocated club North Melbourne in Cairns, will play Fremantle as the “home” team at the new Perth Stadium, play a home game against the Dees at the Gabba and return to AFL heartland Shanghai to play Port Adelaide for the second year in a row. No doubt that Shanghai locals look forward to what they regard as China’s national team due to the Suns red and gold colors getting a win this time. The Suns eventually return to play on the Gold Coast in Round 11 where they will face Geelong and potentially Gary Ablett if he can be bothered to show up.
Collingwood Has a “Dream” Draw
The Magpies have been rewarded for a mediocre 2017 in next years draw with 14 games at the MCG, only playing one top six teams twice, only five trips interstate and double up games between the likes of Fremantle, Brisbane, and Carlton. Given Richmond’s rise from 13th to premiers last season you could think it would be an omen for Collingwood but then again, it would be hilarious if they stuffed it up.
Prime Time Tiger Time
We all know when your team plays on either a Thursday or Friday night it can make or break your weekend.
Reigning premiers Richmond has a total of eight Friday/Thursday night games all up, followed by Sydney and Adelaide who have seven prime-time games each. Geelong, Carlton, Essendon and the Bulldogs have five, St. Kilda four, Collingwood and Port have three, West Coast two with the Roos, Giants, Hawks, and Dees only having the one.
The Suns, Lions, and Freo can enjoy an “off-broadway” season in 2018 with zero prime time action.
Saints Play on Good Friday
It’s only appropriate that on one of the holiest days of the Christian calendar the Saints are playing. St. Kilda will face North Melbourne on Good Friday next year at Etihad Stadium in a twilight fixture. The AFL has missed a perfect marketing opportunity by not scheduling St. Kilda and Melbourne on Good Friday – Saints v Demons. It would only be fitting.
GMHBA Stadium…It Just Rolls off the tongue!
The cattery, traditionally known as Kardinia Park has its fifth name change (Shell Stadium, Baytec Stadium, Skilled Stadium, Simonds Stadium) in 20 years as it will now be known as GMHBA Stadium. For the first time since 1999, the Cats will play nine out of its 11 home games at the ground including a game against Carlton in Round 10 of next year where it will be the first time in 21 years these clubs have met at the venue. It was called Kardinia Park back then.
Foxtel Favourites Roos and Blues
If you barrack for North or Carlton and don’t have a Foxtel subscription and you want to watch your team next year you better get friendly with your mate that already has Foxtel or become a regular down at the local pub that shows the games. You could also just attend them in person if you can do so. The Blues and Roos have the same number of games as the free to air network that shows them – Seven. The two clubs will also meet in Hobart on April 16th on a Saturday night – which will be broadcast on Channel 7.
Radical Timeslot – Saturday 2:10 at the MCG
Get this. Footy. At the MCG. On a Saturday Afternoon. Start time – 2:10 pm. This groundbreaking scheduling by the AFL will happen only four times in season 2018. I’m not sure if this concept will work as fans much prefer the Sunday 4:40 twilight games.
Don’t Stress! Time and Dates for Round 23 are TBC
If you look at the AFL Fixture for round 23 on its website, it would currently suggest that all games are being played at 12 am on Friday, August 24th. While this may look like some weird AFL innovation to spice up the final round like previous years, all times and dates are to be determined in the final weeks of the regular season.