Facts of the AFL Fixture

Adam Treloar at the Western Bulldogs. Picture: westernbulldogs.com.au

With the footy fixture release coming this past week, The Inner Sanctum team has found some quirky facts of the AFL fixture ahead of the 2021 campaign.

Adelaide 

Rd 1 Vs Geelong (AO) March 20 4:35pm 

Rd 2 Vs Sydney (SCG) March 27 1:45pm

Rd 3 Vs Gold Coast (AO) April 2 7:50pm 

Rd 4 Vs North Melbourne (MRVL) April 11 1:10pm 

Rd 5 Vs Fremantle (AO) April 18 1:10pm 

Rd 6 Vs Hawthorn (UTAS) April 25 12:30pm 

Rd 7 Vs GWS (AO)

Rd 8 Vs Port Adelaide (AO) 

Rd 9 Vs West Coast (OS) 

Rd 10 Vs Melbourne (AO)

Rd 11 Vs Richmond (MCG) 

Rd 12 Vs Collingwood (AO)

Rd 13 Vs St Kilda (Cazalys)

Rd 14 – BYE

Rd 15 Vs Carlton (MRVL) 

Rd 16 Vs Brisbane (AO)

Rd 17 Vs Essendon (MRVL) 

Rd 18 Vs West Coast (AO) 

Rd 19 Vs Western Bulldogs (MARS)

Rd 20 Vs Hawthorn (AO) 

Rd 21 Vs Port Adelaide (AO) 

Rd 22 Vs Melbourne (MCG)

Rd 23 Vs North Melbourne (AO) 

Facts of the fixture

The Crows’ round six clash with the Hawks will be their first trip to Launceston since 2010. University of Tasmania Stadium (formerly known as York Park) is not a happy hunting for Adelaide who in five matches at the venue have only come away victors on one occasion with an overall percentage of just 76.65. 

Despite the desperate pleas of Adelaide supporters, former fan favourite Eddie Betts and Carlton will not be returning to face the Crows at Adelaide Oval in 2021. The Blues have faced the Crows in South Australia just once since 2010 in a comfortable 55-point win for the Crows in round 8, 2018. 

Adelaide will play on Good Friday for the first time in their history in a primetime 7:20pm slot against the Gold Coast Suns in round three. This is the only night match Adelaide is scheduled to play through the first seven weeks of the season. 

In round 13, Adelaide will travel to Cairns for the first time to face St Kilda at Cazaly’s Stadium. This match will also be of high intrigue as Brad Crouch faces his former side and brother Matt for the first time. 

2021 will see the 50th Showdown between the Crows and archrivals Port Adelaide take place, with the momentous occasion coming in the second of their two matchups in round 21. Remarkably, after 48 encounters the overall record is tied at 24 a piece making this year’s renditions vital for South Australian bragging rights. 

Zac Standish

Brisbane 

Rd 1 Vs Sydney (G) March 20 7:45pm 

Rd 2 Vs Geelong (GMHBA) March 26 7:50pm 

Rd 3 Vs Collingwood (G) April 1 7:40pm

Rd 4 Vs Western Bulldogs (MARS) April 10 1:45pm 

Rd 5 Vs Essendon (G) April 17 7:25pm 

Rd 6 Vs Carlton (MRVL) April 24 4:35pm

Rd 7 Vs Port Adelaide (G) 

Rd 8 Vs Fremantle (OS) 

Rd 9 Vs Gold Coast (MS)

Rd 10 Vs Richmond (G)

Rd 11 Vs GWS (G)

Rd 12 Vs Melbourne (TP) 

Rd 13 – BYE

Rd 14 Vs North Melbourne (MRVL)

Rd 15 Vs Geelong (G) 

Rd 16 Vs Adelaide (AO)

Rd 17 Vs St Kilda (G) 

Rd 18 Vs Richmond (MCG) 

Rd 19 Vs Hawthorn (MCG) 

Rd 20 Vs Gold Coast (G) 

Rd 21 Vs Fremantle (G)

Rd 22 Vs Collingwood (MRVL)

Rd 23 Vs West Coast (G) 


Facts of the fixture

Brisbane will play seven games in Victoria in 2021, the equal most of any interstate club. Only two of those games will be at the MCG which they will play consecutively in rounds 18 and 19. The last time Brisbane played consecutive games at the MCG was in 2009. Creepily enough, those games were also in rounds 18 and 19.

Joe Daniher won’t need to wait long until meeting his old side. A round 5 game under lights at the Gabba will certainly be a fiery contest. 

Brisbane will play its first ever game in Alice Springs when they take on the Demons at TIO Traeger Park in round 12. The two sides had previously met in the Northern Territory but at Darwin’s TIO Stadium in 2013, with only Daniel Rich and Dayne Zorko remaining from that side. Ironically the duo led Brisbane’s tackle count that day with 5 apiece.

Brisbane will host West Coast at the Gabba for the 23rd time in 26 seasons with seasons 2001, 2007 and 2017 being the years in which the Eagles didn’t make the long trip over to Brisbane.

For the first time since 2012, the Lions will have no Sunday games in the first six rounds. 

James Strebinos

Carlton 

Rd 1 Vs Richmond (MCG) March 18 7:25pm 

Rd 2 Vs Collingwood (MCG) March 25 7:25pm

Rd 3 Vs Fremantle (MRVL) April 4 3:20pm

Rd 4 Vs Gold Coast (MS) April 10 7:25pm 

Rd 5 Vs Port Adelaide (MCG) April 17 7:25pm 

Rd 6 Vs Brisbane (MRVL) April 24 4:35pm 

Rd 7 Vs Essendon (MCG)

Rd 8 Vs Western Bulldogs (MRVL)

Rd 9 Vs Melbourne (MCG) 

Rd 10 Vs Hawthorn (MCG)

Rd 11 Vs Sydney (SCG) 

Rd 12 Vs West Coast (MCG)

Rd 13 – BYE 

Rd 14 Vs GWS (GS) 

Rd 15 Vs Adelaide (MRVL)

Rd 16 Vs Fremantle (OS)

Rd 17 Vs Geelong (MCG) 

Rd 18 Vs Collingwood (MCG) 

Rd 19 Vs North Melbourne (MRVL) 

Rd 20 Vs St Kilda (MRVL) 

Rd 21 Vs Gold Coast (MRVL)

Rd 22 Vs Port Adelaide (AO) 

Rd 23 Vs GWS (Marvel) 


Facts of the fixture

The Blues and the Tigers will again kick off the season in their season opening clash at the MCG. With the exception of 2014, this will be the 13th year in a row that Carlton and Richmond have met in the opening round of the season. Richmond have not lost to Carlton since the Elimination Final in 2013. A hoodoo that Carlton will be desperate to break.

For the first time ever, in Round 5, Carlton will meet Port Adelaide at the MCG under lights. The two sides have faced off at the Home of Football only a handful of times but have never clashed there in primetime. 

Injuries and form pending, former number one pick Marc Murphy is set to chalk up game number 300 in Round 16 vs Fremantle at Optus Stadium. In doing so, Murphy will become only the fifth player in Carlton’s 157-year history to reach the 300-game milestone and only the fourth player ever taken at Pick 1 to reach 300 games.

Carlton will host Geelong at the MCG for the first time since 2010. Carlton fans will remember fondly the last time they met at the MCG on Easter Monday 2010 where Eddie Betts and Chris Judd ran riot on their way to an upset 36-point victory over the then reigning premiers. 

Carlton will be hoping that 2021 is the year they finally break their duck and register its first wins at both Sydney Showgrounds and the Adelaide Oval. Carlton is the only team in the league to not register a single win so far at the Adelaide Oval from 4 attempts while they remain winless at Sydney Showgrounds along with four other teams.

Jono Baruch

Collingwood 

Rd 1 Vs Western Bulldogs (MCG) March 19 7:50pm 

Rd 2 Vs Carlton (MCG) March 25 7:25pm 

Rd 3 Vs Brisbane (G) April 1 7:40pm

Rd 4 Vs GWS (MCG) April 10 7:25pm

Rd 5 Vs West Coast (OS) April 16 8:10pm 

Rd 6 Vs Essendon (MCG) April 25 3:20pm 

Rd 7 Vs Gold Coast (MCG)

Rd 8 Vs North Melbourne (MRVL)

Rd 9 Vs Sydney (SCG) 

Rd 10 Vs Port Adelaide (MCG) 

Rd 11 Vs Geelong (MCG) 

Rd 12 Vs Adelaide (AO) 

Rd 13 Vs Melbourne (MCG)

Rd 14 – BYE

Rd 15 Vs Fremantle (MRVL)

Rd 16 Vs St Kilda (MCG) 

Rd 17 Vs Richmond (MCG) 

Rd 18 Vs Carlton (MCG) 

Rd 19 Vs Port Adelaide (AO) 

Rd 20 Vs West Coast (MCG)

Rd 21 Vs Hawthorn (MCG) 

Rd 22 Vs Brisbane (MRVL) 

Rd 23 Vs Essendon (MCG)


Facts of the fixture

For the ninth consecutive time, Collingwood will play Sydney in Sydney.

While it will also be the first time Collingwood and Carlton battle it out on a Thursday night.

Round 4’s clash against the Giants is the first night home and away match played against each other. The 4:35/4:40 time slot is the most popular played. 7 out of the 11 games played against each other have been the 4:00 fixture,

Who cares about Adam Treloar playing against his old side in Round 1? This is the second year in a row that the Pies and Doggies play Friday night in Round 1.

Collingwood face Carlton for the second time in 2021 in Round 18 – Collingwood secured their biggest winning margin against the Blues (108) in Round 18, 2002. 

Tricia Mifsud

Essendon

Rd 1 Vs Hawthorn (MRVL) March 20 7:25pm

Rd 2 Vs Port Adelaide (AO) March 27 4:35pm 

Rd 3 Vs St Kilda (MRVL) April 3 4:35pm

Rd 4 Vs Sydney (SCG) April 8 7:20pm 

Rd 5 Vs Brisbane (G) April 17 7:25pm 

Rd 6 Vs Collingwood (MCG) April 25 3:20pm 

Rd 7 Vs Carlton (MCG) 

Rd 8 Vs GWS (GS)

Rd 9 Vs Fremantle (MRVL)

Rd 10 Vs North Melbourne (MRVL)

Rd 11 Vs West Coast (OS) 

Rd 12 Vs Richmond (MCG)

Rd 13 – BYE 

Rd 14 Vs Hawthorn (MCG) 

Rd 15 Vs Melbourne (MCG) 

Rd 16 Vs Geelong (GMHBA)

Rd 17 Vs Adelaide (MRVL)

Rd 18 Vs North Melbourne (MRVL) 

Rd 19 Vs GWS (MRVL)

Rd 20 Vs Sydney (MRVL) 

Rd 21 Vs Western Bulldogs (MRVL)

Rd 22 Vs Gold Coast (MS)

Rd 23 Vs Collingwood (MCG)

Facts of the fixture

One of the most interesting facts of the AFL fixture belongs to the Bombers, which play Geelong at GMHBA Stadium in Round 16. This will be the first time they’ve played a game in Geelong for premiership points since Round 21, 1993. Dustin Fletcher and James Hird had both only played 14 and 17 games respectively.

No other Victorian side travels as much as the Bombers do in the first eight weeks. They travel to Adelaide, Brisbane, and Sydney twice, including off a five-day break.

Essendon travel only twice more for the rest of the year past Round 8. They’ll spend 11 weeks in Victoria between flying to Perth to play the Eagles and up to the Gold Coast against the Suns.

Essendon haven’t hosted the Eagles in Melbourne since 2017, making this the fourth time in a row they’ll play in front of the Perth crowd (not including 2020, at the Gabba), having only hosted the Eagles twice since 2014. It’ll be the first time the two sides play on the weekend since 2017, having played four Thursday games and a Tuesday game in the past five years.

Playing the Bulldogs in Round 21 is a bad omen for the Bombers. In 2000, the Terry Wallace coached team ended Essendon’s chance at an unbeaten season. In 2019, the Dogs kicked 21 goals in a row against the Bombers in this round, the second most consecutive goals conceded in VFL/AFL history.

Alex Catalano

Fremantle 

Rd 1 Vs Melbourne (MCG) March 20 at 1:45pm

Rd 2 Vs GWS (OS) March 28 at 6:10pm

Rd 3 Vs Carlton (MRVL) April 4 3:20pm

Rd 4 Vs Hawthorn (OS) April 11 4:40pm

Rd 5 Vs Adelaide (AO) April 18 1:10pm 

Rd 6 Vs North Melbourne (OS) April 24 8:10pm

Rd 7 Vs West Coast (OS) 

Rd 8 Vs Brisbane (OS)

Rd 9 Vs Essendon (MRVL)

Rd 10 Vs Sydney (OS) 

Rd 11 Vs Port Adelaide (AO) 

Rd 12 Vs Western Bulldogs (OS)

Rd 13 Vs Gold Coast (OS)

Rd 14 – BYE

Rd 15 Vs Collingwood (MRVL) 

Rd 16 Vs Carlton (OS) 

Rd 17 Vs Hawthorn (UTAS) 

Rd 18 Vs Geelong (OS)

Rd 19 Vs Sydney (SCG) 

Rd 20 Vs Richmond (OS) 

Rd 21 Vs Brisbane (G) 

Rd 22 Vs West Coast (OS) 

Rd 23 Vs St Kilda (MRVL) 

Facts of the fixture

Fremantle are the one of only two sides (Adelaide) in 2021 to have at least one game in every state, which is one of the more unique The Dockers has away matches against Adelaide, Port Adelaide, Hawthorn in Launceston, Sydney and Brisbane on top of their Melbourne games and home games at Optus Stadium.

Fremantle will back themselves to launch strongly into the 2021 season, not facing a 2020 top eight opponent until the Derby in Round 7.

Fremantle are the only club to face off against 2020 top eight sides in each of their last four games. They will therefore want to have a stranglehold on a top eight spot, or strong form if they’re to make September sides 4 top 8 sides in last month.

Despite being a genuine top eight fancy heading into 2021, Melbourne-based Fremantle supporters won’t be able to watch their side on free-to-air TV until at least round seven. Fremantle is the only such club.

Fremantle’s Round 17 clash with Hawthorn at Launceston means it will have played the second most games in Launceston. They trail only Hawthorn, who host some of its home matches at UTAS Stadium. Despite this, Fremantle has never ‘heaved ho’, unable to ever sing the song in the Launceston change rooms. Their only win came in the infamous 2006 sirengate match, which was only declared later in the week.

Jonty Ralphsmith

Geelong 

Rd 1 Vs Adelaide (AO) March 20 4:35pm 

Rd 2 Vs Brisbane (GMHBA) March 26 7:50pm 

Rd 3 Vs Hawthorn (MCG) April 5 3:20pm

Rd 4 Vs Melbourne (MCG) April 11 3:20pm 

Rd 5 Vs North Melbourne (GMHBA) April 18 4:40pm

Rd 6 Vs West Coast (GMHBA) April 24 1:45pm

Rd 7 Vs Sydney (SCG) 

Rd 8 Vs Richmond (MCG)

Rd 9 Vs St Kilda (MRVL)

Rd 10 Vs Gold Coast (GMHBA)

Rd 11 Vs Collingwood (MCG) 

Rd 12 – BYE 

Rd 13 Vs Port Adelaide (AO) 

Rd 14 Vs Western Bulldogs (GMHBA) 

Rd 15 Vs Brisbane (G) 

Rd 16 Vs Essendon (GMHBA) 

Rd 17 Vs Carlton (MCG) 

Rd 18 Vs Fremantle (OS)

Rd 19 Vs Richmond (MCG) 

Rd 20 Vs North Melbourne (BA) 

Rd 21 Vs GWS (GMHBA)

Rd 22 Vs St Kilda (GMHBA)

Rd 23 Vs Melbourne (GMHBA)


Facts of the fixture

Round 16 will mark the first time since 1993 that the Cats have hosted Essendon at their home ground in Geelong. The hosts ran out 32-point winners in this game, ruckman John Barnes polling three Brownlow votes against his former team with 27 disposals, 14 marks and 14 hitouts.

Geelong will play Carlton at the MCG in round 17, the first time since 2010 the two teams have met at the home of footy. Remarkably, this will be just the fourth game the teams have played at the MCG since the turn of the century, with the last three played at GMHBA Stadium and the majority of the remaining games played at Marvel Stadium. With an attendance of 71399 at the teams’ last game at the MCG, and an average attendance of 38548 (barring this year’s crowdless game) in match-ups since then, the Cats will hope the match-up can be a high-quality prime-time game which draws a significant crowd. 

The round 20 match-up between Geelong and North Melbourne will be played at Hobart’s Blundstone Arena. This will be the Cats’ first game south of Victoria since they played Hawthorn at York Park (now UTAS Stadium) in Launceston in 2007. While they went down to the Hawks by four points that day, Geelong finished the season with two 100-plus point finals wins, including the famous 119-point Grand Final victory over Port Adelaide.

2021 will be the first time since 2005 that the Cats play their final three home-and-away games at their home ground in Geelong. Finishing the home-and-away season with three consecutive games at GMHBA stadium, match-ups against GWS, St Kilda and Melbourne will leave the Cats confident that they will be well-placed to head strongly into the finals once again.

While new recruits Isaac Smith and Shaun Higgins will only need to wait until rounds three and five respectively before facing their former teams Hawthorn and North Melbourne for the first time, the Cats’ star trade period acquisition Jeremy Cameron will be required to wait far longer before his grudge match. Geelong play the GWS Giants in round 21, a game in which Cameron will have the backing of his new home fans. The Cats face the teams of their trade period losses, Nakia Cockatoo (Brisbane) and Lachie Fogarty (Carlton) in rounds 2 and 16 respectively.

Will Cuckson

Gold Coast 

Rd 1 Vs West Coast (OS) March 21 6:10pm 

Rd 2 Vs North Melbourne (MS) March 27 8:10pm 

Rd 3 Vs Adelaide (AO) April 2 7:50pm 

Rd 4 Vs Carlton (MS) April 10 7:25pm 

Rd 5 Vs Western Bulldogs (MRVL) April 17 1:45pm 

Rd 6 Vs Sydney (MS) April 24 1:45pm 

Rd 7 Vs Collingwood (MCG)

Rd 8 Vs St Kilda (MS) 

Rd 9 Vs Brisbane (MS) 

Rd 10 Vs Geelong (GMHBA) 

Rd 11 Vs Hawthorn (TIO) 

Rd 12 – BYE

Rd 13 Vs Fremantle (OS)

Rd 14 Vs Port Adelaide (MS)

Rd 15 Vs North Melbourne (BA) 

Rd 16 Vs Richmond (MS) 

Rd 17 Vs GWS (GS)

Rd 18 Vs Western Bulldogs (MS) 

Rd 19 Vs Melbourne (MS)

Rd 20 Vs Brisbane (G) 

Rd 21 Vs Carlton (MRVL)

Rd 22 Vs Essendon (MS) 

Rd 23 Vs Sydney (SCG) 


Facts of the fixture

The Gold Coast Suns will travel to all corners of the country in the 2021 season, playing at a league-high 11 venues across their campaign. The next highest total belongs to fellow expansion club GWS who will feature at ten venues across the season.

Pending injuries and form, veteran defender Jarrod Harbrow will become the first person to play 200 games for the Gold Coast Suns in their round 13 clash with Fremantle at Optus Stadium. Harbrow will be the only Sun to reach this milestone in 2021, with David Swallow (154 games) next in line to achieve the feat. 

Of the 10 venues the Suns travel to in 2021, they remarkably have failed to win a match at six of them. Although this will be their first trip to Blundstone Arena, Gold Coast has never experienced victory at well-known venues such as Optus Stadium, Adelaide Oval, GMHBA Stadium, Giants Stadium and TIO Stadium. These are stats the up-and-coming Suns will be looking to address in season 2021. 

The Suns face the Western Bulldogs at their Docklands home for just the third time in their ten-year history in round five. Bizarrely, the two clubs played at Cazaly’s Stadium in Cairns on four straight occasions between 2014 and 2017, whilst also playing games at Mars Stadium in Ballarat and TIO Stadium in Darwin. 

Gold Coast will play against St Kilda at Metricon Stadium in round 8. This has become quite a rivalry over the past few years with their last four meetings going back to round 13, 2018 being decided by under a kick.

Zac Standish

GWS Giants 

Rd 1 Vs St Kilda (GS) March 21 3:20pm

Rd 2 Vs Fremantle (OS) March 28 6:10pm

Rd 3 Vs Melbourne (MO) April 4 6:10pm 

Rd 4 Vs Collingwood (MCG) April 10 7:25pm

Rd 5 Vs Sydney (SCG) April 17 4:35pm

Rd 6 Vs Western Bulldogs (MO) April 23 7:50pm

Rd 7 Vs Adelaide (AO) 

Rd 8 Vs Essendon (GS) 

Rd 9 Vs Richmond (MRVL) 

Rd 10 Vs West Coast (GS)

Rd 11 Vs Brisbane (G) 

Rd 12 – BYE 

Rd 13 Vs North Melbourne (BA)

Rd 14 Vs Carlton (GS)

Rd 15 Vs Hawthorn (GS)

Rd 16 Vs Melbourne (MCG)

Rd 17 Vs Gold Coast (GS)

Rd 18 Vs Sydney (GS)

Rd 19 Vs Essendon (MRVL) 

Rd 20 Vs Port Adelaide (MO) 

Rd 21 Vs Geelong (GMHBA)

Rd 22 Vs Richmond (GS)

Rd 23 Vs Carlton (MRVL)


Facts of the fixture

The Giants will have to face St. Kilda in Round 1 and will definitely be looking for revenge after their 52 point loss in Round 23 2020. The loss prevented the Giants from making their fifth-straight final appearance, while it became the first for the Saints in nine years. 

We have to wait until Round 21 to see Jeremy Cameron take on his old side. Cameron’s stats didn’t rack up too well against the Cats, not making the top 20 players amongst the two sides in the 11 games played against each other. Will this change now he’s at the Cats?    

This is the first time the Giants will play their first three games on a Sunday.

This is also the first time since 2015 that the Giants will head to Victoria six times during the Home and Away season.

Continuing with the firsts, the Giants will face Richmond for the first time at Marvel Stadium in Round 9. The Giants and Tiges also begin to show a pattern in playing each other twice every second year in the Home and Away season (2017, 2019 and now 2021).

Tricia Mifsud 

Hawthorn 

Rd 1 Vs Essendon (MRVL) March 20 7.45pm

Rd 2 Vs Richmond (MCG) March 28 1.10pm

Rd 3 Vs Geelong Cats (MCG) April 5 3.20pm

Rd 4 Vs Fremantle (OS) April 11 4.40pm

Rd 5 Vs Melbourne (MCG) April 18 3.20pm

Rd 6 Vs Adelaide (UTAS) April 25 12.30pm

Rd 7 Vs St Kilda (MRVL)

Rd 8 Vs West Coast (MCG)

Rd 9 Vs North Melbourne (UTAS)

Rd 10 Vs Carlton (MCG) 

Rd 11 Vs Gold Coast (TIO)

Rd 12 – BYE

Rd 13 Vs Sydney (SCG)

Rd 14 Vs Essendon (MCG)

Rd 15 Vs GWS (GS)

Rd 16 Vs Port Adelaide (MRVL)

Rd 17 Vs Fremantle (UTAS)

Rd 18 Vs Melbourne (MCG)

Rd 19 Vs Brisbane (MCG)

Rd 20 Vs Adelaide (AO)

Rd 21 Vs Collingwood (MCG)

Rd 22 Vs Western Bulldogs (UTAS)

Rd 23 Vs Richmond (MCG)


Facts of the fixture

Round 11 will see the Hawks play in Darwin for the first time in club history, taking on Gold Coast at TIO stadium in Sir Doug Nicholls Round. 

The Hawks will host Adelaide at UTAS Stadium in round 6, a team they haven’t played in Tassie since 2010. Ironically, Hawthorn’s first ever home game in Tassie was also a Round 6 game against Adelaide 20 years earlier in 2001. The Hawks won that encounter by 13-points and will be looking for a similar result.

Hawthorn will play against Brisbane in front of crowds at the MCG for the first time since 2012. The Hawks hosted Brisbane at the MCG in 2020 but there was no attendance due to COVID-19. They have only hosted Brisbane at the MCG four times in the Clarkson era (2005, 2008, 2012, 2020).

The Hawks will not make a trip to Queensland in 2021. Queensland members of the Hawks are quite used to seasons without seeing live games with the Hawks being scheduled for no games at the Gabba between 2009-2015 having only played at Metricon Stadium twice during that time.

The Hawks will only need to wait until round 3 to face former teammate Isaac Smith when they take on the Cats in the traditional Easter Monday clash. Smith has already caused a bit of grief for Hawks fans in the past against Geelong, with the infamous after the siren miss in the 2016 Qualifying Final only to back it up a year later in Luke Hodge’s 300th game with another miss in the dying seconds. The Hawks will hope to be on the receiving end of a Smith miss this time around. 

James Strebinos

Melbourne 

Rd 1 Vs Fremantle (MCG) March 20 1:45pm

Rd 2 Vs St Kilda (MRVL) March 27 7:25pm

Rd 3 Vs GWS (MO) April 4 6.10pm

Rd 4 Vs Geelong (MCG) April 11 3.20pm

Rd 5 Vs Hawthorn (MCG) April 18 3:20pm

Rd 6 Vs Richmond (MCG) April 24 7.25pm 

Rd 7 Vs North Melbourne (BS)

Rd 8 Vs Sydney (MCG)

Rd 9 Vs Carlton (MCG)

Rd 10 Vs Adelaide Crows (AO)

Rd 11 Vs Western Bulldogs (MRVL)

Rd 12 Vs Brisbane Lions (TP)

Rd 13 Vs Collingwood (MCG)

Rd 14 – BYE

Rd 15 Vs Essendon (MCG)

Rd 16 Vs GWS (MCG) 

Rd 17 Vs Port Adelaide (AO)

Rd 18 Vs Hawthorn (MCG)  

Rd 19 Vs Gold Coast (MS)

Rd 20 Vs Western Bulldogs (MCG)

Rd 21 Vs West Coast Eagles (OS)

Rd 22 Vs Adelaide Crows (MCG)  

Rd 23 Vs Geelong (GMHBA)

Facts of the fixture

North Melbourne host Melbourne at Blundstone Arena in Round 7 next year, for the fourth time since 2016. Their three recent encounters have yielded Kangaroos victories by 5 points in 2016, 4 in 2017 and 5 points again in 2019. Will Blundstone Arena again prove unlucky for the Dees? The match will also likely be Ben Brown’s first match against his former club.

Melbourne play in both territories next year: against GWS at Manuka in round 3, and then hosting Brisbane at TIO Traeger Park in Alice Springs in round 12. Adelaide was the last side to do this in 2018.

The last time Melbourne had a road trip to GMHBA Stadium – then known as Simonds Stadium – to round out its home-and-away campaign was in 2016. They got belted by 111 points, so will hope history doesn’t repeat itself.

Melbourne will continue the trend of hosting Fremantle for early matches at the MCG in round one. Next year will be the 12th time the sides have played each other at the MCG since the turn of the century – the latest the match has started is 2.10. It starts at 1.45 next year.

This will be the first time since Round 22, 2018, that Melbourne will play Brisbane outside of Queensland, this year’s game will take place in Alice Springs.  

Jonty Ralphsmith

North Melbourne 

Rd 1 Vs Port Adelaide (MRVL) March 21 1:10pm

Rd 2 Vs Gold Coast Suns (MS) March 27 8:10pm

Rd 3 Vs Western Bulldogs (MRVL) April 2 4:20pm

Rd 4 Vs Adelaide Crows (MRVL) April 11 1:10pm

Rd 5 Vs Geelong Cats (GMHBA) April 18 4:40pm

Rd 6 Vs Fremantle (OS) April 24 8:10pm

Rd 7 Vs Melbourne (BS)

Rd 8 Vs Collingwood (MRVL)

Rd 9 Vs Hawthorn (UTAS)

Rd 10 Vs Essendon (MRVL)

Rd 11 Vs St Kilda (MRVL)

Rd 12 – BYE 

Rd 13 Vs GWS Giants (BA)

Rd 14 Vs Brisbane Lions (MRVL)

Rd 15 Vs Gold Coast Suns (BA)

Rd 16 Vs Western Bulldogs (MRVL)

Rd 17 Vs West Coast Eagles (OS) 

Rd 18 Vs Essendon (MRVL)

Rd 19 Vs Carlton (MRVL)

Rd 20 Vs Geelong Cats (BA)

Rd 21 Vs Richmond (MCG)

Rd 22 Vs Sydney Swans (MRVL)

Rd 23 Vs Adelaide Crows (AO)

Facts of the fixture

It will be the first time since Round 21, 2017 where North Melbourne will face Hawthorn in Tasmania, with both sides being the two sides in the AFL who play home games in Tasmania. 

North Melbourne will play more games in Tasmania then in previous years, with 2019 and 2018, they played 3 games and 2017 they played 4. In 2021 they will play 5 games in Tassie. 

New Roo’s Jaidyn Stephenson and Atu Bosenavulagi will face off their old side in the Pies, in Round 8 at Marvel Stadium. North Melbourne will also face former teammate Demon Ben Brown for the first time, in Round 7 in Tasmania 

North Melbourne will feature in the only AFL/AFLW double header in 2021, when the Roo’s head up to Metricon Stadium to face the suns in Round 2. 

It’s also the first time since Round 17, 2012 that the Kangaroos have held a home game at the MCG against the Tigers.

Elly McNerney 

Port Adelaide 

Rd 1 Vs North Melbourne (MRVL) March 21 1:10pm

Rd 2 Vs Essendon (AO) March 27 4:35pm

Rd 3 Vs West Coast Eagles (OS) April 3 8:10pm

Rd 4 Vs Richmond (AO) April 9 7:50pm

Rd 5 Vs Carlton (MCG) April 17 7:25pm

Rd 6 Vs St Kilda (AO) April 25 6:40pm

Rd 7 Vs Brisbane Lions (G)

Rd 8 Vs Adelaide Crows (AO)

Rd 9 Vs Western Bulldogs (AO)

Rd 10 Vs Collingwood (MCG)

Rd 11 Vs Fremantle (AO)

Rd 12 – BYE

Rd 13 Vs Geelong Cats (AO)

Rd 14 Vs Gold Coast SUNS (MS)

Rd 15 Vs Sydney Swans (AO)

Rd 16 Vs Hawthorn (MRVL)

Rd 17 Vs Melbourne (AO)

Rd 18 Vs St Kilda (MRVL)

Rd 19 Vs Collingwood (AO)

Rd 20 Vs GWS GIANTS (MO)

Rd 21 Vs Adelaide Crows (AO)

Rd 22 Vs Carlton (AO)

Rd 23 Vs Western Bulldogs (MRVL)

Facts of the fixture

This will be the fourth time Port Adelaide has faced North Melbourne in the opening round of the season, which is the equal most the Power has along with Fremantle.

However, it will be the first in Victoria.

The Kangaroos have also won two out of the three season openers against Port, claiming wins in 2002 and 2006, while losing in 2010.

Port Adelaide has faced Essendon in Round 2 on three occasions and lost every time – Port’s first home game in the AFL in 1997 and at Docklands in 2001 and 2012.

The two clubs have met in the first two rounds of the AFL season on seven occasions since Port Adelaide joined the AFL in 1997.

Port Adelaide and Collingwood have only met twice in the same season (excl. finals) on five occasions.

Most recently in 2017 when Port won the two games.

The other four times were in 2011 when Port lost both games by a total of 213 points, 2006 when Collingwood won both, 2004 when Port won both and 1997 when the clubs had a win apiece.

This will be the first time in over a decade Port Adelaide and St Kilda will meet on the Anzac Day weekend.

It was a regular fixture in the late 2000s, with games from 2006 to 2010, with Port winning four of the five meetings.

Adelaide Oval has not been a happy hunting ground for the Fremantle Dockers.

Fremantle is yet to record a win over Port Adelaide at the venue and has an average losing margin of 53.8 points.

The Dockers’ last win over Port in Adelaide was in 2012 at Football Park and only two of those players in that game remain on Port’s list.

Jack Hudson

Richmond 

Rd 1 Vs Carlton (MCG) March 18 7:25pm

Rd 2 Vs Hawthorn (MCG) March 28 1.10pm

Rd 3 Vs Sydney Swans (MCG) April 3 1:45pm

Rd 4 Vs Port Adelaide (AO) April 9 7:50pm

Rd 5 Vs St Kilda (MRVL) April 15 7.20pm

Rd 6 Vs Melbourne (MCG) Saturday, April 24 (MCG), 7.25pm 

Rd 7 Vs Western Bulldogs (MCG)

Rd 8 Vs Geelong Cats (MCG)

Rd 9 Vs GWS GIANTS (MRVL) 

Rd 10 Vs Brisbane Lions (Gabba)

Rd 11 Vs Adelaide Crows (MCG) 

Rd 12 Vs Essendon (MCG)

Rd 13 – BYE

Rd 14 Vs West Coast Eagles (OS)

Rd 15 Vs St Kilda (MCG)

Rd 16 Vs Gold Coast SUNS (MS)

Rd 17 Vs Collingwood (MCG) 

Rd 18 Vs Brisbane Lions (MCG)

Rd 19 Vs Geelong Cats (MCG)

Rd 20 Vs Fremantle (OS)

Rd 21 Vs North Melbourne (MCG) 

Rd 22 Vs GWS GIANTS (GS)

Rd 23 Vs Hawthorn (MCG)  


Facts of the fixture

It will be the first time that the Tigers will take on GWS at Marvel Stadium since the Giants inception into the competition.

It will be the first time since 2010, that Richmond will not play Collingwood until Round 17. The sides have been a feature match before the midseason bye since 2010, five of those matches have been in Round 2. 

Richmond will head over to Perth to take on West Coast at Optus Stadium, the first time since Round 9 2018. 

Round 6 will see Dustin Martin play in his 250th AFL match and Round 18 will see Jack Riewoldt play in his 300th match. 

It will be the first time since Round 17, 2012 where Richmond will play North Melbourne away at the MCG.  

Elly McNerney 

St Kilda 

Rd 1 Vs GWS GIANTS (GS) March 21 3:20pm

Rd 2 Vs Melbourne (MRVL) March 27 7:25pm

Rd 3 Vs Essendon (MRVL) April 3 4:35pm

Rd 4 Vs West Coast Eagles (MRVL) April 10 4:35pm

Rd 5 Vs Richmond (MRVL) April 15 7:20pm

Rd 6 Vs Port Adelaide (AO) April 25 6:10pm

Rd 7 Vs Hawthorn (MRVL) 

Rd 8 Vs Gold Coast SUNS (MS)

Rd 9 Vs Geelong Cats (MRVL) 

Rd 10 Vs Western Bulldogs (MRVL)

Rd 11 Vs North Melbourne (MRVL)

Rd 12 Vs Sydney Swans (MRVL) 

Rd 13 Vs Adelaide Crows (CAZ)

Rd 14 – BYE

Rd 15 Vs Richmond (MCG)

Rd 16 Vs Collingwood (MCG)

Rd 17 Vs Brisbane Lions (G)

Rd 18 Vs Port Adelaide (MRVL) 

Rd 19 Vs West Coast Eagles (OS)

Rd 20 Vs Carlton (MRVL) 

Rd 21 Vs Sydney Swans (SCG)

Rd 22 Vs Geelong Cats (GMHBA)

Rd 23 Vs Fremantle (MRVL)

Facts of the fixture

The Saints have hosted Port Adelaide more times in Tasmania and China than on their home turf at Marvel Stadium since 2003, meeting four times in Tasmania, once in China and only three times in Melbourne. The China game was the Saints only ‘home’ game against the Power since 2013 and will be until their Round 18 clash. St Kilda and Port Adelaide will also meet twice in a season for the first time since 2010. 

St. Kilda and Gold Coast sides share a total margin of 11 points between them in their past four encounters, for an average margin of 2.75 points. The two sides will meet in Round 8.

Brad Crouch will meet his former side in unfamiliar territory when the Saints play the Crows at Cazalys Stadium in Cairns in round 13. It will be the Saints’ first game at the venue.

The Saints’ Round 1 game against the Giants at Giants Stadium will be only its third encounter at the venue. The Saints have failed to win at the ground and could blame their first quarters for that, scoring a combined 1.11 in first quarters at the stadium.

St Kilda has met Fremantle at Marvel Stadium eight times since 2010 with five of those clashes being at the backend of the season between rounds 18-23. This year will be number six when the pair meet at the venue in round 23. Their only other meeting in round 23 came in 2013 when Fremantle rested several players before finals and the Saints triumphed by 71-points.

James Strebinos

Sydney 

Rd 1 Vs Brisbane Lions (G) March 20 7:45pm

Rd 2 Vs Adelaide Crows (SCG) March 27 1:45pm

Rd 3 Vs Richmond (MCG) April 3 1:45pm

Rd 4 Vs Essendon (SCG) April 8 7:20pm

Rd 5 Vs GWS GIANTS (SCG) April 17 4:35pm

Rd 6 Vs Gold Coast (MS) April 24 1:45pm

Rd 7 Vs Geelong Cats (SCG)

Rd 8 Vs Melbourne (MCG)

Rd 9 Vs Collingwood (SCG)

Rd 10 Vs Fremantle (OS)

Rd 11 Vs Carlton (SCG) 

Rd 12 Vs St Kilda (MRVL)

Rd 13 Vs Hawthorn (SCG)

Rd 14 – BYE

Rd 15 Vs Port Adelaide (AO)

Rd 16 Vs West Coast Eagles (SCG)

Rd 17 Vs Western Bulldogs (MRVL)

Rd 18 Vs GWS GIANTS (GS)

Rd 19 Vs Fremantle (SCG) 

Rd 20 Vs Essendon (MRVL)

Rd 21 Vs St Kilda (SCG)

Rd 22 Vs North Melbourne (MRVL)

Rd 23 Vs Gold Coast SUNS (SCG)

Facts of the fixture

For the second year in succession, Sydney will play Adelaide and Essendon within the first month of the season.

Sydney will play Fremantle twice during the regular season for the first time since 2010. The Swans have played them twice in a season since, but that was when meeting in finals three years in succession from 2013-15.

Modern rival Hawthorn is only faced once in the regular season for the third year running. Before 2019, they faced each other twice in the regular season every year back to 2011. They have not faced each other only once during a regular season three seasons in succession since 2000-2002.

Facing Gold Coast in Round 5 is the earliest they have met since 2013, when they met in round 2. When they play off in the final round it will be the second time they have played twice in a season, the first being 2015, when they also played off in the final round. 

Once again Collingwood will play Sydney in Sydney, and they would probably prefer to be back at the former venue that is Stadium Australia, where they have a historical record of 10-3, compared to 9-15 at the Sydney Cricket Ground, including three of the last five defeats.

Thomas Grattan

West Coast 

Rd 1 Vs Gold Coast SUNS (OS) March 21 6:10pm 

Rd 2 Vs Western Bulldogs (MRVL) March 28 3:20pm

Rd 3 Vs Port Adelaide (OS) April 3 8:10pm

Rd 4 Vs St Kilda (MRVL) April 10 4:35pm

Rd 5 Vs Collingwood (OS) April 16 8:10pm 

Rd 6 Vs Geelong Cats (GMHBA) April 24 1:45pm

Rd 7 Vs Fremantle (OS) 

Rd 8 Vs Hawthorn (MCG)

Rd 9 Vs Adelaide Crows (OS)  

Rd 10 Vs GWS GIANTS (GS)

Rd 11 Vs Essendon (OS)

Rd 12 Vs Carlton (MCG)

Rd 13 – BYE

Rd 14 Vs Richmond (OS)

Rd 15 Vs Western Bulldogs (OS) 

Rd 16 Vs Sydney Swans (SCG)

Rd 17 Vs North Melbourne (OS)

Rd 18 Vs Adelaide Crows (AO)

Rd 19 Vs St Kilda (OS) 

Rd 20 Vs Collingwood (MCG)

Rd 21 Vs Melbourne (OS)

Rd 22 Vs Fremantle (OS)

Rd 23 Vs Brisbane Lions (Gabba)

Facts of the fixture

West Coast will be happy to get the reigning premiers back on its home deck – as they have not lost to Richmond at home since 2014.

The Western Derby is back twice next season, last year was the only time to date that they have faced their cross-town rivals only once in the regular season.

When playing Carlton at the MCG in round 12 it will be only the fourth time in history the two clubs have played off there. Remarkably two of the three previous occasions have come in the last five seasons.

Will this be the year their Sydney hoodoo is finally broken? They have not beaten the Swans in the Harbour City since 2007 and have not won at the SCG since 1999.

They will be happy to get the Gold Coast at home to start the season, as they are undefeated at home against Gold Coast, 8-0.

Thomas Grattan

Western Bulldogs 

Rd 1 Vs Collingwood (MCG) March 19 7:50pm

Rd 2 Vs West Coast Eagles (MRVL) March 28 3:20pm

Rd 3 Vs North Melbourne (MRVL) April 2 4:20pm

Rd 4 Vs Brisbane Lions (MARS) April 10 1:45pm

Rd 5 Vs Gold Coast Suns (MRVL) April 17 1:45pm

Rd 6 Vs GWS Giants (MO) April 23, 7:50pm

Rd 7 Vs Richmond (MCG)

Rd 8 Vs Carlton (MRVL)

Rd 9 Vs Port Adelaide (AO)

Rd 10 Vs St. Kilda (MRVL)

Rd 11 Vs Melbourne (MRVL)

Rd 12 Vs Fremantle (OS)

Rd 13 – BYE

Rd 14 Vs Geelong (GMHBA)

Rd 15 Vs West Coast Eagles (OS)

Rd 16 Vs North Melbourne (MRVL)

Rd 17 Vs Sydney (MRVL)

Rd 18 Vs Gold Coast Suns (MS)

Rd 19 Vs Adelaide (MARS)

Rd 20 Vs Melbourne (MCG)

Rd 21 Vs Essendon (MRVL)

Rd 22 Vs Hawthorn (MCG)

Rd 23 Vs Port Adelaide (MRVL)

Facts of the fixture

The Dogs’ star trade period recruit Adam Treloar will only need to wait as many games of the season as his new guernsey number – one – before he faces Collingwood, his former team.

Despite playing four seasons with GWS before crossing to Collingwood, and averaging 29.8 disposals against the Pies, Treloar has never won a game against Collingwood.

With the Dogs heavily bolstering their side in the off-season, could Treloar join a club including the likes of Gary Ablett Jnr, Chris Judd and Lance Franklin to have won a game against every club?

2021 will be the fifth consecutive year in which the Bulldogs make two trips to Western Australia, playing Fremantle in round 12 and West Coast in round 15.

However, the Bulldogs are yet to win a game at Optus Stadium, and haven’t won a game in Perth since their elimination final win against the Eagles in 2016.

The Dogs’ last home-and-away season victory in Perth came all the way back in 2010, also against West Coast, so the Bulldogs will be aiming to break their West Australian hoodoo.

In round 21, the Bulldogs host Essendon at Marvel Stadium.

This has been an historically productive match-up for the Bulldogs, as many will remember the teams’ round 21 match-up in 2019, when the Dogs kicked 21 unanswered goals to demolish the Bombers by 104 points.

The Bulldogs will be aiming to produce a similar performance, especially heading into finals time.

The Bulldogs are set to continue their partnership with Mars Stadium in Ballarat, with two games scheduled at the venue in 2021.

Their round four match-up against Brisbane and round 19 match-up against Adelaide are both slated to be played at Mars Stadium, where the Bulldogs have played five matches since 2017.

Importantly, the Dogs have previously played against the Crows and Lions in Ballarat, both in 2019, and won these matches by 34 and 16 points respectively.

The Dogs will shift from their home ground at Marvel Stadium to play three games at the MCG in 2021, the most they’ve played in a home-and-away season since 2010.

The Bulldogs’ season kicks off on March 19 at the MCG against Collingwood, with match-ups against Richmond (round 7) and Melbourne (round 20) also fixtured. 

Will Cuckson

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