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The 2024 AFL season will start with four fixtures in Queensland and NSW the week before the traditional Carlton-Richmond meeting in round one.
Dubbed “Opening Round” by the league, all four clubs from the northern states will host Victorian rivals for the first premiership points of the year.
Jack Viney.Credit: Getty
The season will officially start with a Sydney-Melbourne clash at the SCG on Thursday, March 7, with the Brisbane Lions to host Carlton at the Gabba the following night.
Gold Coast take on Richmond at Heritage Bank Stadium in new coach Damien Hardwick’s first clash with his former club on Saturday.
GWS will host reigning premiers Collingwood at Giants Stadium later that night.
The Lions-Blues and Giants-Magpies meetings are rematches of last season’s preliminary finals.
The AFL hopes the set of opening round fixtures will give it a leg up in the northern markets.
“We were fortunate to be in a position where we were able to have access to our major venues in Queensland and NSW a weekend earlier than usual which gave us a unique opportunity to play these four games in key markets where footy continues to grow in popularity,” AFL chief executive Andrew Dillon said.
“The four match-ups are big, with four of our biggest-supported Victorian clubs travelling north, and we look forward to starting our season with real momentum before we head into a blockbuster round of matches in round one.”
Carlton will take on Richmond on Thursday March 14 to kick off a full set of nine matches in round one.
The eight teams that play in the opening round will have a bye between rounds two and six.
It will mean all 18 teams will have played the same number of games by the start of round seven.
The byes will not occur in round four, which has been locked in for Gather Round, when all clubs will meet for a full set of fixtures in South Australia.
AFL’s Opening Round 2024
Thursday March 7
Sydney v Collingwood, SCG, 7.20pm
Friday March 8
Brisbane Lions v Carlton, Gabba, 6.50pm
Saturday March 9
Gold Coast v Richmond, Heritage Bank Stadium, 3.20pm
GWS v Collingwood, Giants, Stadium, 7.30pm
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