AFL fixture news: Full fixture for Rounds 12-15 released

Essendon is sitting at 1-5, yet the club is a major beneficiary in the next block of fixtures. See who your side is facing and where in round 12-15.

Thursday night football is back, with the popular timeslot to feature heavily in the next block of the AFL fixture.

The league on Thursday released the dates and times for Rounds 12 to 15, which will begin with a Friday night clash between the Western Bulldogs and Geelong Cats at Marvel Stadium

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SCROLL DOWN TO SEE THE FULL FIXTURE

In Round 13, Essendon’s 150th year celebration match will be held against arch-rival Carlton in a blockbuster meeting at the MCG on the Friday night.

Thursday night football, which has proven popular with fans, will return for Rounds 13 to 15.

The eighth Big Freeze will also take place during Round 13 with Collingwood hosting Melbourne on Queen’s Birthday Monday in the now traditional annual clash.

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Essendon will face Carlton in rdoun 13 on Friday night. Picture: Darrian Traynor/AFL Photos/Getty Images
Essendon will face Carlton in rdoun 13 on Friday night. Picture: Darrian Traynor/AFL Photos/Getty Images

The GWS Giants host the Western Bulldogs at Giants Stadium in a standalone Saturday night slot during Round 14 while Round 15 sees Melbourne host the Brisbane Lions at the MCG in the first meeting between the two clubs since last year’s Qualifying Final match which was played at Adelaide Oval.

The Sydney Swans will host St Kilda in the seventh annual Pride Game to be played in a standalone Saturday night match at the SCG.

Each club will have one bye across Rounds 12, 13, and 14 this season.

“It has been great to see supporters able to attend matches at every venue across the country this season and we are pleased to be able to confirm the dates and times for Rounds 12 to 15 of the 2022 Toyota AFL Premiership Season,” AFL Head of Broadcasting and Scheduling Marcus King said.

“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..

“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.”

There will be two Friday night matches scheduled in Round 15 with the Western Bulldogs taking on. Hawthorn at Marvel Stadium leading into West Coast’s clash with Essendon in Perth at 8.40pm EST.

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

“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.”

DONS GET BIRTHDAY WISH IN FIXTURE RELEASE

The AFL is set to grant Essendon its birthday wish by scheduling a Friday night home blockbuster against arch rival Carlton at the MCG to celebrate the club’s 150th anniversary.

The Herald Sun understands the Bombers have been lobbying the league to host the Blues on June 10 in what shapes as a special week of celebration for the famous club.

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In a throwback to yesteryear, the Bombers are expected to train at their spiritual home in Windy Hill – instead of their new Tullamarine base – on the Thursday before the round 13 match.

Supporters will then be invited to walk from Federation Square to the MCG with Bombers legends on Friday evening while a prestigious gala event, scheduled for the Saturday night, should bring together the largest collection of Essendon people in history.

Young gun Nick Martin and the Bombers are set to be granted the club’s birthday wish. Picture: Getty Images
Young gun Nick Martin and the Bombers are set to be granted the club’s birthday wish. Picture: Getty Images

It’s understood the Bombers will also wear a special one-off jumper against the Blues on a night it is hoped 85,000 fans – a similar crowd to this week’s Anzac Day blockbuster – pack the ‘G.

A celebration before the 7.50pm bounce will help supporters at the ground re-live some of the club’s greatest moments.

The AFL is expected to lock in the fixture for rounds 12-15 on Thursday evening, which will confirm the Bombers have received their second Friday night game for the season in round 13.

Bomber officials are taking celebrations for the 150th year anniversary seriously as they set out to honour and celebrate a rich history that has yielded 16 VFL-AFL premierships and give back to their loyal members.

The club was formed way back in 1872 and played its first recorded match against a Carlton reserves team on June 7, 1873, prevailing by one goal.

85,000 fans crammed the MCG on Anzac Day — will the do it again for the Bombers’ birthday? Picture: AFL Photos/Getty Images
85,000 fans crammed the MCG on Anzac Day — will the do it again for the Bombers’ birthday? Picture: AFL Photos/Getty Images

Essendon won four-straight VFA premierships by finishing on top of the ladder from 1891-1894.

It then joined the breakaway VFL competition in 1897, winning the inaugural premiership by travelling a round-robin finals series undefeated.

That was the first of 16 cups, with the most recent secured under legendary coach Kevin Sheedy in 2000.

The celebrations will ramp up this week when Sheedy and three-time premiership Mark Harvey will take an Essendon-themed bus through major regional hubs to connect with Bomber fans across Victoria.

Captain Dyson Heppell will on Thursday visit his hometown of Leongatha as part of the country tour

Collingwood boss makes big fixture demand

—Jon Ralph

The AFL will release a month-long chunk of the fixture in coming days as it provides greater certainty for fans in the winter months of the season.

The league is set to release at least rounds 12-15 of the season as Collingwood and Sydney call for an end to the league’s rolling fixture.

Collingwood president Jeff Browne was the latest president to call for a permanent fixture as soon as the scourge of Covid has passed.

Sydney’s Andrew Pridham said this month that clubs attempting to maximise attendances were hampered by a fixture being drip-fed out a fortnight at a time.

The Pies — and every other club — will soon know their fixture until at least round 15. Picture: AFL Photos/Getty Images
The Pies — and every other club — will soon know their fixture until at least round 15. Picture: AFL Photos/Getty Images

The league has certainty for fans at the front of its mind as members attempt to plan trips interstate and secure cheaper interstate flights.

The Gold Coast-North Melbourne contest in Darwin is the only game of round 12 released so far.

The league will be able to return to the Thursday night contests that have proved so popular in that fixture block because teams are coming off byes.

Hawthorn-Collingwood, Melbourne-Sydney, Western Bulldogs-Geelong and even Fremantle-Brisbane are all contenders for the Friday night slot in round 12.

Round 13 features the Queens Birthday clash on Monday involving Collingwood and Melbourne.

Pies president Jeff Browne wants to see the fixture locked in. Picture: Getty Images
Pies president Jeff Browne wants to see the fixture locked in. Picture: Getty Images

Browne said on Monday the Pies deserved to keep their Anzac Day slot against Essendon because of tradition and also wants the rolling fixture to be eradicated post-Covid.

“I think fans like certainty and clubs do as well. I haven’t heard a good reason why the rolling fixture should continue and I hope we revert to a fixed arrangement once we are convinced we are clear of Covid.”

The league put out only two weeks of fixturing in rounds 10-11 to release the indigenous round, and also wanted to assess the spread of Covid in West Australia.

But with cases at a manageable level across the country and the league confident it can fly into any state to play at all venues it can now release at least four rounds from now on.

The AFL Commission will in coming weeks make a decision on a 2.30pm or 4.30pm Grand Final at the May meeting.

The AFL drew strong crowds over the weekend but MCC members were frustrated their reserve was sold out but the game drew 84,205 fans, which was 15,000 short of total capacity

Sydney Swans chairman Andrew Pridham has backed calls for the full fixture to drop. Picture: Damian Shaw
Sydney Swans chairman Andrew Pridham has backed calls for the full fixture to drop. Picture: Damian Shaw

Gill jets off as broadcast rights deal looms

—Staff reporter

AFL chief Gillon McLachlan flew out of Australia on Monday night on a high-powered fact-finding mission ahead of the league’s next broadcasting deals.

The league CEO was joined on the flight to the US by AFL broadcasting boss Travis Auld, strategist Walter Lee and general counsel Andrew Dillon.

The league released a statement on Monday night to say Kylie Rogers has been appointed acting AFL chief executive.

The AFL did not say how long McLachlan and his party would be in the US.

Gillon McLachlan is preparing to negotiate footy’s next broadcast deal. Picture: AFL Photos/Getty Images
Gillon McLachlan is preparing to negotiate footy’s next broadcast deal. Picture: AFL Photos/Getty Images

McLachlan has announced he will be standing down at the end of this year and Dillon, Auld and Rogers — who heads the league’s commercial and customer department — have all been touted as possible replacements.

The Herald Sun reported earlier this month that the AFL was optimistic it was only months from brokering a massive broadcast agreement with Fox Footy and Chanel 7 that would underpin McLachlan’s ambitious 2022 farewell agenda.

McLachlan made clear talks had already started with Foxtel and Seven on a new deal for rights currently worth $475 million per year from both networks combined for each of the 2023 and 2024 seasons.

McLachlan jetted off for the US on Monday night. Picture: Picture: David Crosling
McLachlan jetted off for the US on Monday night. Picture: Picture: David Crosling

Despite speculation a streaming service such as Amazon or Stan might emerge for one game per week, McLachlan said last month the league was happy with its current Fox Footy-Seven arrangement.

He believes there will be intense interest in the AFL’s rights — and an improved financial deal.

But it would take something extraordinary for the league to hand the rights to rival bidders.

Originally published as AFL fixture news: Full fixture for Rounds 12-15 released

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