AFL releases more timeslots for fixtures

·2-min read

Thursday night games are back and the AFL will continue with its Friday double-header experiment in rounds 13 to 15.

The AFL on Thursday released more timeslots for matches in round 12 and unveiled the entire line-ups for the following three weekends.

The MCG will host three consecutive Thursday night games, with Richmond playing Port Adelaide in round 13, and then Carlton in round 14.

Reigning premiers Melbourne will be at home to fellow flag fancies the Brisbane Lions in round 15 in what shapes as a potential grand-final preview.

Essendon have got their request to have a Friday night showdown with old rivals Carlton at the MCG to celebrate the club's 150th anniversary.

The Bombers are big winners, despite currently sitting at 1-5, playing on a Friday night three weekends in a row.

In round 15, Essendon will be the second game on a Friday night as they travel to play struggling West Coast at Optus Stadium.

Western Bulldogs will host Hawthorn at Marvel Stadium at the earlier-than-normal time of 7pm to create less overlap into the Eagles-Bombers clash.

The AFL has already had two Friday night double-headers this season, in round-three with Essendon-Melbourne and Adelaide-Port Adelaide games, and then during the Easter weekend.

"Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, our strong aim remains to provide clubs, supporters and everyone involved in football with as much notice as possible to plan ahead," AFL broadcasting scheduling boss Marcus King said.

"We are also pleased to confirm Thursday night primetime footy returns for rounds 13 to 15 with three huge match-ups scheduled for the MCG.

"We have taken the opportunity, with Optus Stadium unavailable over the weekend of round 15 due to NRL State of Origin, to remove one of the Saturday night matches and instead play two matches on the Friday evening.

"The start times for the two Friday matches allow fans to either get to the games or watch them at home, while also avoiding substantial overlap.

"In turn, this creates three back-to-back standalone matches on the Saturday of round 15."

The floating fixture has come under fire recently, with Collingwood president Jeff Browne and Sydney counterpart Andrew Pridham calling for it to be scrapped from next year to provide more certainty for supporters.

Up until the COVID-19 pandemic, the AFL had always locked in the entire regular season fixture well before the competition commenced.

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