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2019 fixture: round-by-round review

2019 fixture breakdown Melbourne Media's Caitlin Nobes breaks down the 2019 fixture

IT’S fair to say plenty of Melbourne fans will be delighted at the release of the 2019 Toyota AFL Premiership Season fixture.

The fixture saw Melbourne given a bevy of blockbuster games and primetime opportunities.

With all 22 games confirmed, we look at the stories behind each round of 2019.

Round 1 – Port Adelaide at the MCG (H)
Saturday, March 23, 1:45pm

Melbourne’s 2019 campaign kicks off at its spiritual home, the MCG, with a Saturday afternoon clash against Port Adelaide.

Going down to the Power by 10 points in Round 14 last year, the red and blue will be hungry to come out on top.

Jack Viney racked up 31 disposals last time the two sides met, and with a solid pre-season under his belt could be one to watch. 

Round 2 – Geelong at GMHBA Stadium (A)
Saturday, March 30, 7:25pm

In a rematch of the 2018 elimination final, Melbourne will head down the highway for a round two encounter with Geelong.

Clayton Oliver racked up 40 disposals in the last game at the Cattery, however the round 18 game was memorable for all the wrong reasons, after Melbourne dropped a 29-point fourth quarter lead to go down by three points.

Round 3 – Essendon at the MCG (H)
Friday, April 5, 7:50pm

Melbourne will host Essendon in a home game for the first time since 2010, with a Friday night match scheduled at the MCG.

Melbourne played Essendon once in 2018, with Max Gawn dominating in a 36-point round six win at Marvel Stadium.

The Demons and Bombers have not clashed on a Friday night since round 11, 2011. Not only did Melbourne win that 2011 game, but a certain youngster named Max Gawn made his debut alongside Jeremy Howe.  

Game one for Max Gawn back in 2011

Round 4 – Sydney Swans at the SCG (A)
Thursday, April 11, 7:50pm

The red and blue will take centre stage against the Swans on a Thursday night in round four.

Sydney claimed a nine-point win in round 18 last year, which was the only 2018 match-up between the sides. 

Melbourne will have two consecutive six-day breaks in the lead-up to this game, while it will also be the first time the Demons have featured on a Thursday night since 2011.

Round 5 – St Kilda at the MCG (H)
Saturday, April 20, 4:35pm

The Easter Saturday game against St Kilda will be one of two twilight games Melbourne has scheduled in 2019.

It could also be the first time new Saint Dean Kent lines up against his old side, after moving to Moorabbin in the Trade Period.

Melbourne and St Kilda won one game apiece from their two match-ups in 2018.

Following this game, Melbourne and Richmond will both have four-day breaks ahead of ANZAC Day Eve.

Round 6 – Richmond at the MCG (A)
Wednesday, April 24, 7:35pm

With a crowd likely to hit the 90K mark, the ANZAC Day Eve match against Richmond will be amongst the biggest games of the 2019 season.

Both teams will be eager to showcase their prowess on the big stage after preliminary final losses in 2018.

Melbourne’s track record against the Tigers doesn’t fall in their favour, losing 105 of 189 games played.

Former Gold Coast co-captains Steven May and Tom Lynch could also line up on each other as opposition players for the first time.

Anzac Day Eve is bound to be a blockbuster (Photo: Adam Trafford)

Round 7 – Hawthorn at the MCG (H)
Saturday, May 4, 1:45pm

After Melbourne ended the Hawks’ 2018 campaign in the semi-final, expect a hungry Hawthorn side to come out in this Saturday afternoon clash at the ‘G.

Apart from the semi-final, Hawthorn were the victor in the only home and away match between the sides in round four, claiming a 67-point win.

It will be the third time in five years that Melbourne and Hawthorn have clashed in round seven.

Round 8 – Gold Coast Suns at Metricon Stadium (A)
Saturday, May 11, 4:35pm

Melbourne will be eager to continue their good form on the road throughout 2019, with back-to-back travel on the itinerary.

The Demons have form against the Suns having won nine matches out of 12, while it will be the first potential hit out for Steven May and Kade Kolodjashnij against their former club.

Round 9 – West Coast Eagles at Optus Stadium (A)
Friday, May 17, 6:10pm

All eyes will be on this match up, with the two sides going up against each other for the first time since West Coast ended Melbourne’s finals hopes.

The first of two clashes next season, the pressure will be on the Demons to bring their best, mimicking scenes of its round 22 victory in the west last season.

Melbourne will only have six days to prepare for this trip after the game against Gold Coast the prior Saturday.

Max Gawn takes on Scott Lycett in the preliminary final (Photo: Will Russell)

Round 10 – GWS Giants at the MCG (H)
Sunday, May 26, 1:10pm

Melbourne will host the Giants at the MCG for the second consecutive year.

The only 2018 match-up between the sides came in round 23, with Angus Brayshaw collecting 32 disposals and a goal in a 45-point Melbourne win.

Round 11 – Adelaide at TIO Stadium, Darwin (H)
Saturday, June 1, 7:10pm

Melbourne dominated in the Northern Territory last year, including a 91-point thrashing of the Crows in Alice Springs.

The match-up moves to Darwin this season, but still falls within the Sir Doug Nicholls Round.

Beyond the on-field activity, expect a suite of pre-match and half-time spectacles celebrating Aboriginal communities throughout Central and Northern Australia. 

A Darwin sunset greets Melbourne ahead of the 2018 match at TIO Stadium (Photo: Michael Dodge)

Round 12 – Collingwood at the MCG (A)
Monday, June 10, 3:20pm

A Collingwood home game for the first time since 2001, Melbourne will be hungry to redeem themselves after last year’s Queen’s Birthday loss.

With the Big Freeze is again set to be a part of the pre-match excitement, on-field it will be a battle of the league’s best rucks as Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy go up against each other. 

Round 13 – BYE

Round 14 – Fremantle at the MCG (H)
Saturday, June 22, 1:45pm

This match is set to be huge, with former Melbourne forward Jesse Hogan likely to line-up for new side Fremantle in this game.

The last time Melbourne met Fremantle, it was the Demons who came out winners by 54 points on a humid Saturday night in Darwin in round 16.

This could be Melbourne’s chance to snap a three-game losing streak at the MCG to Fremantle.

Round 15 – Brisbane at the Gabba (A)
Sunday, June 30, 3:20pm

With Brisbane expected to be 2019’s big improvers, this Sunday afternoon fixture at the Gabba could be a fascinating affair.

Last year’s encounter against Brisbane in round two saw a plucky Lions side fight back from a 42-point deficit in the third quarter to come within a goal of Melbourne in the final term.

Four late goals from Jesse Hogan and Jeff Garlett sealed the game for Melbourne.

Round 16 – Carlton at the MCG (A)
Sunday, July 7, 1:10pm

The Demons will take on Carlton in an away game at the MCG on a Sunday afternoon.

Melbourne will be looking to capture the form they displayed against the Blues in round nine last season, when they ran out 109-point winners.

Jake Melksham had a blinder in that match, with five goals, 21 touches and three goal assists.

Round 17 – Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium (A)
Sunday, July 14, 3:20pm

Melbourne will have to wait until round 17 for their first trip to Marvel Stadium, however they’ll be excited to cross town after going undefeated under the roof in 2018.

The Demons have now won six of their last seven at Marvel Stadium, which includes two wins over the Bulldogs.

After two matches in 2018, this will be Melbourne’s only game against the Western Bulldogs in 2019.

Round 18 – West Coast Eagles at TIO Traeger Park, Alice Springs (H)
Sunday, July 21, 2:50pm

Melbourne is set to travel for both its clashes against the reigning premiers, but this time it will be to friendly territory.

If last year’s performance in Alice is anything to go by, Melbourne sits in good stead to bring its best performance to Central Australia.   

Familiarity with the ground will also be on Melbourne’s side, as the Eagles have never played in the Red Centre in a home and away game.

Melbourne takes on Adelaide at Traeger Park in 2018 (Photo: Michael Willson)

Round 19 – St Kilda at Marvel Stadium (A)
Saturday, July 27, 7:25pm

The Demons will play St Kilda for the second time in 2019 in a Saturday night clash at Marvel Stadium.

Melbourne and St Kilda last played a night game in round one, 2014, also at Docklands, which the Saints won by 17 points.

Round 20 – Richmond at the MCG (H)
Saturday, August 3, 7:25pm

Richmond will be Melbourne’s opponent in a blockbuster Saturday night match-up at the MCG.

It will also mark the first time since 2012 that Melbourne and Richmond have played twice in a home and away season. Including the JLT Community Series, it will be the third confirmed match between Melbourne and Richmond in 2019.

Round 21 – Collingwood at the MCG (H)
Saturday, August 10, 1:45pm

With Collingwood set to host the Queen’s Birthday fixture, Melbourne will wear the blue shorts in a home match against the Pies in round 21.

While there’s a lot of footy to be played beforehand, this match could have plenty of ramifications on the shape of the ladder come September.

If Melbourne wins both games against the Magpies, it will be the first time since 1988 that the Demons have won two games in a season against Collingwood.

Round 22 – Sydney Swans at the MCG (H)
Friday, August 16, 7:50pm

Melbourne will host the Swans in their third and final Friday night game for 2019.

The Demons will be looking to win their first ever Friday night game against Sydney, after three losses to the Swans in the timeslot which occurred in 1997, 2003 and 2017.

Round 23 – North Melbourne at Blundstone Arena, Hobart (A)
Date and time TBC

For the final game of 2019, Melbourne will travel to Hobart to play North Melbourne, with the date and time to be confirmed closer to the game.

New Melbourne recruit Braydon Preuss could go up against old sparring partner Todd Goldstein, while Dom Tyson is also a chance to line up for North.

In a fixturing quirk, round 23, 2019 will be more than 500 days since Melbourne’s last game against the Kangaroos in round three, 2018.