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Melbourne’s 2018 fixture announced

Matt Burgan  October 31, 2017 9:30 AM

ELEVEN matches at the MCG, including a season-opener against Geelong, an Anzac Day Eve blockbuster against Richmond and the traditional Queen’s Birthday clash against Collingwood are among the highlights for Melbourne’s 2018 fixture.  

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The AFL released the details for every home and away match for the 2018 Toyota AFL premiership season on Tuesday morning, with Melbourne chief executive Peter Jackson calling it “a good fixture from both a football and supporters’ perspective”.

“Opening the 2018 season, playing a home game against Geelong at the MCG, in what will be a blockbuster match, is not only exciting for the club, but also exciting for our supporters,” he told melbournefc.com.au.

“We have no back-to-back six-day breaks and no back-to-back interstate travel, which is pleasing.

“Once again, continuing the tradition of the Anzac Eve match against the Tigers, next year on a Tuesday night, is a fantastic result for both teams. We look forward to, what is not only a chance to acknowledge the significance of the night and occasion, but also play in front of a huge crowd.

“Playing four away games in late April/May, sets a difficult challenge to incorporate the Breast Cancer Network Australia Pink Lady match, but we will do our best to find a resolution.”

Melbourne will start its season on Sunday, March 25 at 3.20pm, when it hosts Geelong – with a returning Gary Ablett – for just the second time at the MCG since 2009.

Their most recent meeting at the ‘G was in round 17, 2014, with seven of their past nine matches being played at Kardinia Park (now GMHBA Stadium).

In fact, Melbourne will play four of its opening five rounds at the MCG, with the other matches against North Melbourne (round three) and Hawthorn (round four) and Richmond (round five) on Tuesday night, Anzac Day Eve.

It will be just the second time a Tuesday night match will be played in VFL/AFL history. The only other occasion was round 10, 1996, when the Essendon and St Kilda clash at Waverley Park was finished off, after the lights went out three days earlier on Saturday night. For the record, Essendon eventually won the match.

Melbourne’s only game away from the MCG, in its first five games next season, is at the Gabba in round two.

The Demons take on Brisbane, which will be the first time they play the Lions at the Gabba since round five, 2013. It will also be just the second-time Melbourne has played in Queensland since 2013.

Yet six weeks later, the red and blue will be back in the Sunshine State, when it takes on the Gold Coast Suns at the Gabba in round eight.

That match will be played at Woolloongabba, instead of Carrara, due to Metricon Stadium not being available to the Suns until June, due to the Commonwealth Games being held on the Gold Coast.

In between the two Queensland trips, Melbourne will play back-to-back away matches at Etihad Stadium against Essendon and St Kilda in rounds six and seven respectively.

Docklands, previously a hoodoo ground for the Demons, became a successful venue this year, when they won three of their four home and away matches at the ground. 

Interestingly, from rounds six to 19, Melbourne will play just four out of 13 games at the ‘G. The Dees also have the bye in round 13.

During that period, the Demons will play Carlton (round nine), Collingwood on Queen’s Birthday (round 12), St Kilda (round 15) and Western Bulldogs (round 17) at the MCG, plus two home matches in the Northern Territory against Adelaide Crows (round 10, TIO Traeger Park) and Fremantle (round 16, TIO Stadium).

The other matches are against the Western Bulldogs (round 11, Etihad Stadium), Port Adelaide (round 14, Adelaide Oval), Geelong Cats (round 18, GMHBA Stadium) and Adelaide Crows (round 19, Adelaide Oval).

Melbourne will finish the home and away season with three of its last four matches back at the MCG, with its round 22 encounter against the West Coast Eagles set to be played at the new Perth Stadium.

The red and blue will also play three teams from the northern states in its run home: Gold Coast Suns (round 20), Sydney Swans (round 21) and GWS Giants (round 23).

As has been the case in recent years, a floating fixture for round 23 will take place. The date, time and broadcast details will be confirmed in the weeks before Melbourne’s clash against the Giants.

Overall, Melbourne will play Adelaide Crows, Geelong Cats, Gold Coast Suns, St Kilda and Western Bulldogs twice, yet it won’t play the Swans, Eagles or Giants for the first time until the final three rounds.

The Crows and Cats were top six sides this year, while the Saints and Bulldogs finished in the middle six and the Suns were in the bottom half-a-dozen.

The Demons play 15 matches in Victoria: 11 at the MCG (nine home and two away), plus away games at Etihad Stadium (three) and one at GMHBA Stadium.

Melbourne will play seven games outside of Victoria: two home matches in the Northern Territory (one at TIO Traeger Park, Alice Springs and one at TIO Stadium, Darwin), plus two at the Gabba (Queensland), two in at Adelaide Oval (South Australia) and one at Perth Stadium (Western Australia).

The only major Australian states/territories Melbourne won’t play next year are the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales and Tasmania, although the Demons open their JLT Community Series in Hobart, when they play the Kangaroos at Kingston Twin Ovals on Saturday, February 24.

The red and blue will play one Friday night match, eight Saturday games (one early, one afternoon, two twilight and four night), 10 on Sunday (three early, seven afternoon), a Monday afternoon clash and a Tuesday night blockbuster.

Melbourne’s one Friday night game is an away clash against Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval.   

From a network perspective, Melbourne will be shown on Channel Seven 12 times (six home matches and six away) and on Fox nine times (four home matches and five away). As mentioned earlier, round 23 will confirmed closer to the time.

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2018 Melbourne fixture
Round 1, Sunday, March 25, Geelong Cats, MCG, Home, 3:20pm, Seven

Round 2, Saturday, March 31, Brisbane Lions, The Gabba, Away, 6:25pm, Foxtel

Round 3, Saturday, April 7, North Melbourne, MCG, Home, 2:10pm, Foxtel

Round 4, Sunday, April 15, Hawthorn, MCG, Away, 3:20pm, Seven

Round 5, Tuesday, April 24, Richmond, MCG, Home, 7:25pm, Seven

Round 6, Sunday, April 29, Essendon, Etihad Stadium, Away, 1:10pm, Foxtel

Round 7, Sunday, May 6, St Kilda, Etihad Stadium, Away, 3:20pm, Seven

Round 8, Saturday, May 12, Gold Coast Suns, The Gabba, Away, 4:35pm, Foxtel

Round 9, Sunday, May 20, Carlton, MCG, Away, 1:10pm, Foxtel 

Round 10, Sunday, May 27, Adelaide Crows, TIO Traeger Park, Home, 2:50pm, Seven

Round 11, Saturday, June 2, Western Bulldogs, Etihad Stadium, Away, 1:45pm, Foxtel

Round 12, Monday, June 11, Collingwood, MCG, Home, 3:20pm, Seven

Round 13, Bye

Round 14, Friday, June 22, Port Adelaide, Adelaide Oval, Away, 7:20pm, Seven

Round 15, Sunday, July 1, St Kilda, MCG, Home, 1:10pm, Foxtel

Round 16, Saturday, July 7, Fremantle, TIO Stadium, Home, 7:10pm, Foxtel

Round 17, Saturday, July 14, Western Bulldogs, MCG, Home, 4:35pm, Foxtel

Round 18, Saturday, July 21, Geelong Cats, GMHBA Stadium, Away, 7:25pm, Seven

Round 19, Saturday, July 28, Adelaide Crows, Adelaide Oval, Away, 7:10pm, Seven

Round 20, Sunday, August 5, Gold Coast Suns, MCG, Home, 3:20pm, Seven

Round 21, Sunday, August 12, Sydney Swans, MCG, Home, 3:20pm, Seven

Round 22, Sunday, August 19, West Coast Eagles, Perth Stadium, Away, 1:20pm Seven

Round 23, TBC, GWS Giants, MCG, Home, TBC, TBC