The AFL has released the fixture for the 2022 season, with plenty of changes across the board, particularly in the first nine rounds.

The AFL has released the fixture for the 2022 season, with plenty of changes across the board, particularly in the first nine rounds.

Rounds 1 through 9 were fully released today. The season is set to kick off at the MCG on a Wednesday night with the 2021 Toyota AFL Grand Final re-match between Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs.

There’ll be five Thursday night matches in the first five rounds, with the first three Thursday games all in Melbourne. 15 teams will also feature on either Thursday or Friday night in the opening five rounds.

There’s also rivalries galore to kick off the season, including three derbies in the first three rounds.

The Showdown between Adelaide and Port Adelaide will be played on Friday night for the first time in Round 3 as part of a double header with the Melbourne and Essendon game. There’ll also be another Friday night double header in Round 8.

The ANZAC Appeal round is set for Round 6, with another double-header on ANZAC Day. Whilst Essendon and Collingwood will play the traditional game, Hawthorn and Sydney will face off in Launceston earlier on the day.

Sir Doug Nicholls Round is set for Rounds 10 and 11, with the Dreamtime set to return to the ‘G in Round 10. Sydney and Richmond will play in the Marn Grook game at the SCG in Round 11.

Footy returns to Sydney, Melbourne and the NT after they missed out on a fair chunk due to the COVID pandemic.

There’ll be three games in the top end, with Gold Coast hosting games at TIO Stadium in Rounds 11 and 12. Melbourne will also play Port Adelaide at TIO Traeger Park in Round 18.

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Northern Territory Government Minister for Major Events Natasha Fyles spoke on the excitement surrounding footy returning to the top end.

“Territorians love their footy, so it’s great news the Territory will be hosting three AFL games next year, especially during the Sir Doug Nicholls Round,” Fyles said.

“Meanwhile, footy fans in the Red Centre will get to witness the Premiership winners in action, which is an incredible opportunity.”

AFL Executive General Manager of Clubs and Broadcasting Travis Auld said the AFL was confident in the 2022 fixture.

“The competitiveness and the ability for any team to win on any day gave us great confidence in the spread of marquee timeslots to begin the season,” Mr. Auld said.

He was also adamant that they’ll continue to follow the situation of this ongoing pandemic.

“We will continue to remain diligent and will always be led by respective Governments and health authorities on the right advice, ensuring the health and wellbeing of everyone remains the key priority.”

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