Andrew Demetriou
Andrew Demetriou

The AFL has released the first four blockbuster games of its 2013 season with grand finalists Hawthorn set to take on nemesis Geelong on Easter Monday of an opening round spanning two weeks.

In other mouth-watering fixtures introduced by the AFL, Adelaide will host the opening fixture of the season against Essendon at AAMI Stadium for the first time since 1991 on Friday March 22.

Meanwhile, Fremantle and West Coast will lock horns at Patersons Stadium in the derby, the night after the Crows take on the Bombers.

Carlton and Richmond, who have traditionally occupied the first fixture of the season, will meet at the MCG the second week of Round 1 on Thursday March 28.

The NAB Cup Grand Final will be held on Saturday March 16, allowing both Adelaide and Essendon a
full seven-day break to recover should either side qualify.

Geelong will host Hawthorn at the MCG to backend a blockbuster first round and boast a nine-match winning streak against the Hawks since losing the 2008 Grand Final to them.

The last time Adelaide hosted the opening fixture was in the club's inaugural year, also on Friday March 22, a clash that saw the new boys defeat Hawthorn by 86 points.

Essendon features heavily in the early fixtures with St Kilda boom recruit Brendon Goddard set to face his old club in Bombers' colour for the first time in Round 4 ahead of the club's traditional ANZAC Day clash with Collingwood on April 25.

The Bombers have also requested a clash with Carlton on June 7 to commemorate the 140th anniversary of the clubs' first clash against the Blues in 1873.


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