Daniel Kerr
Daniel Kerr

The AFL have confirmed their fixture for Round 23, with Hawthorn and West Coast to do battle on Friday night followed by Geelong-Sydney and Essendon-Collingwood blockbusters on Saturday.

Having introduced a floating fixture for the final round of the home-and-away season a couple of years ago, the AFL were forced to wait until Tuesday to announce the exact schedule with positions in the top four and final eight still far from settled.

And having left it as late as possible, the fact that 10th-placed St Kilda and 11th-placed Carlton are now two wins outside the eight means their clash will not be played until Sunday, September 2.

The Hawks and Eagles will get proceedings underway from 7:50pm (AEST) on August 31 at the MCG, with the Cats and Swans to then go head-to-head at Simonds Stadium at 1:45pm the following day.

Likely minor premiers Adelaide will host Gold Coast at AAMI Stadium from 2:10pm (AEST) while North Melbourne travel to Skoda Stadium to face Greater Western Sydney from 4:40pm.

The night games will be between the Bombers and the Magpies at the MCG and the Dockers and Demons at Patersons Stadium, both from 7:40pm (AEST).

And then the Blues and Saints are followed on Sunday by the Tigers and Power at the MCG from 3:15pm and the Lions and the Bulldogs from 4:40pm at the Gabba.

Six teams are still in contention for top-four places while the Dockers are outside the eight on percentage at present, with the Saints and Blues eight points back, although Brett Ratten's men are virtually three games adrift because of an inferior percentage.

The Swans may currently be in pole position to finish first but given the Cats' home ground is not able to stage night matches the AFL were unable to schedule that clash for Friday night.

And with the league expecting the Hawks to finish close to the top of the ladder they have elected to open the round with that match.

<u>Friday August 31</u>
Hawthorn v West Coast, MCG, 7.50pm

<u>Saturday September 1</u>
Geelong v Sydney Swans, Simonds Stadium, 1.45pm
Adelaide Crows v Gold Coast, AAMI Stadium, 1.40pm
GWS v North Melbourne, Skoda Stadium, 4.40pm
Essendon v Collingwood, MCG, 7.40pm
Fremantle v Melbourne, Patersons Stadium, 5.40pm

<u>Sunday September 2</u>
Carlton v St Kilda, Etihad Stadium, 1.10pm
Richmond v Port Adelaide, MCG, 3.15pm
Brisbane Lions v Western Bulldogs, Gabba, 4.40pm


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