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2014 fixture club-by-club wrap

Staff writers  October 31, 2013 10:14 AM

The big games to look forward to in 2014 Buddy v Hawks, Tippett v Crows, what can't you wait to see?

Adelaide

CLUBS YOU PLAY TWICE Port Adelaide, St Kilda, GWS, Collingwood, North Melbourne

PROS Two clashes with Port Adelaide, St Kilda and GWS, home games against Melbourne and Collingwood either side of their bye, and a marquee Friday night home game against Hawthorn.

CONS The Crows' first Showdown with Port Adelaide being an away game, interstate trips to tackle Geelong and Fremantle, plus a tough start – Geelong, Port and the Sydney Swans in their first three fixtures.

HIGHLIGHTS Adelaide will have two stand-alone Thursday night games, against Geelong in round one and Collingwood in round nine. The benefit of two Showdowns means the Crows also enjoy 12 games at Adelaide Oval.

TOUGHEST RUN Right at the beginning, as mentioned in the cons above. Fremantle away, North at home and Essendon away between rounds 12-14 will also be a stern test.

TRAVEL Two trips to the MCG, to face Carlton and Collingwood, plus three visits to Etihad Stadium (St Kilda, Bulldogs, Essendon). Their other road trips are Geelong, Fremantle, GWS, Brisbane and North Melbourne in Hobart.

GAMES AGAINST 2013 TOP 6 Seven. Geelong, Port Adelaide (twice), Sydney Swans, Carlton, Fremantle, Hawthorn.

GAMES AGAINST 2013 BOTTOM 6 Eight. St Kilda (twice), GWS (twice), Bulldogs, Melbourne, Gold Coast, West Coast.

WHAT THEY SAY "Considering who we play at home, the timeslots are good, the away travel is fine; so on balance we’re pretty happy with it." - Adelaide CEO Steven Trigg

WHAT WE SAY The Crows should be fairly happy with their draw, with only seven clashes against last year's top six and 12 games at Adelaide Oval.

CLICK HERE FOR THE CROWS' FULL 2014 FIXTURE
 

Brisbane Lions

CLUBS YOU PLAY TWICE North Melbourne, Richmond, Gold Coast, Fremantle, Geelong

PROS They get 12 games in Queensland, including a Friday night slot, as well as an Anzac Day game in New Zealand.

CONS The Lions are forced to play a lot of footy against some seriously good sides in 2014 and the start and finish to their season is particularly difficult.

HIGHLIGHTS Their round five match against Richmond on a Friday night as well as their Anzac Day clash against St Kilda in Wellington.

TOUGHEST RUN The Lions will have their work cut out for them to pinch a single victory from their last four games of the season. They face Adelaide at the Gabba, Collingwood at the MCG, Fremantle in Perth and Geelong at Simonds Stadium.

TRAVEL The club only has to make the long-haul trip to Perth once and while it plays St Kilda in New Zealand, that's actually only a 3.5-hour flight. The Lions will also play one game in both Adelaide and Launceston.

GAMES AGAINST 2013 TOP 6 Eight games - Hawthorn, Geelong (twice), Port Adelaide, Sydney Swans, Fremantle (twice), Carlton

GAMES AGAINST 2013 BOTTOM 6 Seven games - Gold Coast (twice), Western Bulldogs, Melbourne, GWS, West Coast, St Kilda.

WHAT THEY SAY "At first glance the fixture looks quite challenging, with return games against three of last year's top five teams. But, to be honest, we won't shy away from the challenge because if we're going to improve, we need to be able to compete against these top sides." – coach Justin Leppitsch

WHAT WE SAY Far from the dream draw for the Lions, who will have to play four possible top-five sides twice. Their run home is a season-killer and a tough opening five rounds could see them get off to a slow start.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LIONS' FULL 2014 FIXTURE

Carlton

CLUBS YOU PLAY TWICE Port Adelaide, Essendon, Collingwood, Geelong, St Kilda

PROS The Blues don't leave Melbourne until round 11 and only travel interstate five times, with two of those trips to Sydney.

CONS The Blues have two Thursday night fixtures and one Monday fixture. They also face Fremantle at Patersons.

HIGHLIGHTS A Friday night blockbuster with Collingwood in round seven. Round 23 clash with Essendon at the MCG.

TOUGHEST RUN Back-to-back Friday night matches against Hawthorn and Geelong in rounds 12 and 13. 

TRAVEL Only five trips for the year to the Gabba, Skoda Stadium, the SCG, Patersons Stadium and Adelaide Oval.

GAMES AGAINST 2013 TOP 6 Seven. Geelong (twice), Port Adelaide (twice), Hawthorn, Fremantle, Sydney Swans.

GAMES AGAINST 2013 BOTTOM 6 Six. Greater Western Sydney, Melbourne, St Kilda, Western Bulldogs, Gold Coast, West Coast.

WHAT THEY SAY "Overall it's a good result and there are no major surprises. We're pleased to have the opportunity to play in 13 night matches, which is a reflection of our strong number of television viewers." – chief executive Greg Swann

WHAT WE SAY Reasonably kind draw for Carlton. They only play the bottom six sides from 2013 once each but they travel just five times and only play one top-four side twice.

CLICK HERE FOR THE BLUES' FULL 2014 FIXTURE
 


Blues/Pies rivalry fires up in round seven before a return bout in round 15. Picture: AFL Media

Collingwood

CLUBS YOU PLAY TWICE: Adelaide Crows, West Coast Eagles, Essendon, Carlton, Hawthorn

PROS Fourteen games at the MCG and only one of this year's top four twice in Hawthorn and its only game against Fremantle is in Victoria.

CONS A tough start to the season with five of this year's top eight teams plus Essendon and North Melbourne (the best teams out of the eight) in the first seven games.

HIGHLIGHTS Friday night season opener against last year's Grand Finalists will be a hot encounter at Etihad Stadium and the Sunday night blockbuster against Carlton in late June will be a television event. And, of course, Anzac Day against Essendon on a Friday afternoon.

TOUGHEST RUN: Collingwood's first seven rounds will define its season. If the Pies are ahead of the ledger after seven rounds they should make finals.

TRAVEL: Five games outside Victoria with the game against the Sydney Swans now in round two rather than its traditional mid-season slot.

GAMES AGAINST 2013 TOP 6 Eight. Plays Hawthorn and Carlton twice, the Sydney Swans away and Fremantle and Port Adelaide in Victoria. Geelong looms in round three.

GAMES AGAINST 2013 BOTTOM 6 Seven. West Coast twice and the Suns, St Kilda, Greater Western Sydney, the Western Bulldogs and Melbourne once. The Pies' first game against a bottom-six team from 2013 is against the Eagles in round 10.

WHAT THEY SAY "The fixture is good from an on-field perspective but in many ways not ideal commercially, with a number of our home games not scheduled in prime time. As a club we are comfortable with that as we work with the AFL on our role to be spreading the commercial benefits of the fixture as part of the equalisation strategy." – chief executive Gary Pert

WHAT WE SAY A very tough start to the season but otherwise reasonable, meeting both Fremantle and Port Adelaide just once, and in Victoria. As usual, commercially sound although twilight games dominate the end of the season.

CLICK HERE FOR THE MAGPIES' FULL 2014 FIXTURE

Essendon

CLUBS YOU PLAY TWICE Collingwood, Western Bulldogs, Sydney Swans, Richmond, Carlton.

PROS Only one trip to Perth is a bonus, and so is the run into the end of the season, with four straight games in Victoria to finish the home and away year.

CONS Four of the five teams Essendon play twice played finals in 2013. From a financial point of view, the Bombers' hopes of playing Hawthorn at the MCG again did not eventuate, and they will host the reigning premiers at Etihad Stadium in round two.

HIGHLIGHTS New Bomber Paul Chapman and the club's new coach Mark Thompson will face off against their old club, Geelong, in round 15. Facing Hawthorn so early in the season is rare and will be a big contest.

TOUGHEST RUN The first month isn't easy for the Bombers. They start with North Melbourne, then have the Hawks, then play arch-rival Carlton in round three. In round four it's Essendon's first road trip to Fremantle.

TRAVEL Fremantle, Patersons Stadium (round four), Brisbane Lions, Gabba (round 10), Greater Western Sydney, Giants Stadium (round 12), Port Adelaide, Adelaide Oval (round 16), Sydney Swans, SCG (round 19)

GAMES AGAINST 2013 TOP 6 Eight. Hawthorn, Carlton (twice), Fremantle, Sydney Swans (twice), Geelong, Port Adelaide.

GAMES AGAINST 2013 BOTTOM 6 Seven. St Kilda, Western Bulldogs (twice), Greater Western Sydney, Melbourne, West Coast, Gold Coast.

WHAT THEY SAY "We were the most watched club in season 2013 and we feel six Friday night and six Saturday night games, as well as fifteen guaranteed free-to-air TV games is fantastic recognition of the teams exciting brand of football and the strong support we receive across the country." – interim chief executive Ray Gunston

WHAT WE SAY It could have been worse and it could have been better. Thirteen night games – spread across Friday, Saturday and Sunday – means the Bombers will be largely nocturnal in 2014 but they have grown used to that in recent seasons.

CLICK HERE FOR THE BOMBERS' FULL 2014 FIXTURE

Fremantle

CLUBS YOU PLAY TWICE West Coast, Hawthorn, Port Adelaide, Geelong, Brisbane Lions

PROS The opportunity to play in Friday night blockbusters against Collingwood and Hawthorn. Home games against Hawthorn and Geelong.

CONS Having to play Hawthorn, Geelong and Port Adelaide twice. The Dockers also have back-to-back six-day breaks in rounds five and six. They only play at the MCG twice.

HIGHLIGHTS Season opener against Collingwood at Etihad on a Friday night. Another Friday night clash with Hawthorn in round four. Anzac Day clash with North Melbourne at Patersons Stadium.

TOUGHEST RUN The Dockers' start to the year is brutal. They play five of 2013's top eight sides in the first nine rounds as well as Gold Coast, West Coast, North Melbourne and Essendon.

TRAVEL The Dockers have 10 games away from Perth. Two games at the MCG, three at Etihad, and one each at Simonds Stadium, the SCG, the Gabba, Adelaide Oval, and TIO Stadium in Darwin.

GAMES AGAINST 2013 TOP 6 Eight. Hawthorn (twice), Geelong (twice), Port Adelaide (twice), Sydney Swans and Carlton

GAMES AGAINST 2013 BOTTOM 6 Seven. West Coast (twice), Greater Western Sydney, Melbourne, St Kilda, Western Bulldogs, Gold Coast.

WHAT THEY SAY "We believe Fremantle's 2014 fixture is a fair reflection of our improved on-field performance and our appeal with TV audiences, which is highlighted by three Friday night blockbusters, a string of Saturday night and twilight games plus one of only six Thursday night games." – chief executive Steve Rosich

WHAT WE SAY Tough draw. But the opportunity to play some blockbuster matches in primetime. The Dockers are now a major draw-card. 

CLICK HERE FOR THE DOCKERS' FULL 2014 FIXTURE


 After a Grand Final debut in 2013, the Dockers will meet the Hawks twice next season. Picture: AFL Media


Geelong

CLUBS YOU PLAY TWICE Hawthorn, Carlton, Fremantle, Brisbane Lions, North Melbourne.

PROS Blockbuster MCG games against Collingwood, Richmond and Hawthorn.

CONS Only seven games at Simonds Stadium. Large number of six-day breaks. The Cats only play the bottom six teams once.

HIGHLIGHTS A Thursday night and a Friday game at Simonds Stadium.

TOUGHEST RUN Rounds nine to 11. Play Fremantle at Patersons Stadium, North Melbourne at Simonds Stadium and the Sydney Swans at the SCG.

TRAVEL Six interstate trips, made up of one game in Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and the Gold Coast and two matches in Sydney.

GAMES AGAINST 2013 TOP 6 Eight. Hawthorn (twice), Carlton (twice), Fremantle (twice), Sydney Swans, Port Adelaide.

GAMES AGAINST 2013 BOTTOM 6 Six. West Coast, Gold Coast, Western Bulldogs, St Kilda, Melbourne, Greater Western Sydney.

WHAT THEY SAY "We have a good mix with our home games, have been treated fairly with interstate games and also a good balance of playing Victorian and interstate teams at Simonds Stadium. As always, we have a number of blockbuster games, and with 16 games in Victoria our supporters have many great opportunities to see us in action." – chief executive Brian Cook

WHAT WE SAY A draw that will please Geelong's commercial team but won't get such a positive review from the football department.

CLICK HERE FOR THE CATS' FULL 2014 FIXTURE

Gold Coast

CLUBS YOU PLAY TWICE Brisbane Lions, Hawthorn, St Kilda, Western Bulldogs, West Coast

PROS The Suns play three bottom-six teams twice and play 13 games in their home state.

CONS The lack of blockbuster timeslots would be disappointing, albeit expected. The Suns don't play on a Thursday or Friday night and only play on Saturday night three times – in rounds one, four and 19.

HIGHLIGHTS Their opening game against Richmond at home on a Saturday night shapes as a great game, as does the Queensland derby in round three.

TOUGHEST RUN From rounds 11 to 16 the Suns will take on Adelaide in Adelaide, the Sydney Swans, West Coast in Perth, Geelong, Hawthorn in Tasmania and then Collingwood.

TRAVEL They will have to cross the country twice to play Fremantle and West Coast and will also have to venture to Adelaide and Tasmania. They'll also play in Melbourne five times.

GAMES AGAINST 2013 TOP 6 Seven games – Hawthorn (twice), Fremantle, Sydney Swans, Geelong, Port Adelaide, Carlton.

GAMES AGAINST 2013 BOTTOM 6 Eight games – Brisbane Lions (twice), St Kilda (twice), Western Bulldogs (twice), GWS, Melbourne

WHAT THEY SAY "Importantly for our local economy we have the big clubs coming here again, and we have seen in the last three years, the impact of having teams like Collingwood come up to the Gold Coast. We have the Pies again who we are really pleased to host, and also Hawthorn and Richmond who have big supporter bases which will travel up to support their teams." – chief executive Travis Auld

WHAT WE SAY The Suns were always going to get a tougher draw given their improvement this year. But all in all, this should allow them to push further up the ladder, particularly given their 13 games in Queensland's humidity.  

CLICK HERE FOR THE SUNS' FULL 2014 FIXTURE


In contrast to the Giants' first two seasons, they will only meet the Suns once in 2014. Picture AFL Media

Greater Western Sydney

CLUBS YOU PLAY TWICE Sydney Swans, Melbourne, Western Bulldogs, Adelaide, Richmond

PROS GWS is thrilled to face the Swans at Giants Stadium (formerly Skoda Stadium) for the first time and also meets fellow strugglers Melbourne twice.

CONS The Giants are once again set for plenty of travel, heading to Melbourne five times, Perth twice, plus Adelaide and Brisbane, on top of its three home games in Canberra.

HIGHLIGHTS Three of their first four games are at home while they will also enjoy no less than 14 Saturday fixtures, giving them just about the maximum amount of rest between games.

TOUGHEST RUN West Coast in Perth before the bye, followed by Richmond, Hawthorn and Essendon will provide some challenges, as will a run of Fremantle, Geelong and Richmond between rounds 17-19.

TRAVEL See the cons above. The Giants are traditionally regular travellers and were hopeful of avoiding back-to-back road trips. Unfortunately, they have a six-day break between trips to Adelaide and the Gold Coast in rounds five and six.

GAMES AGAINST 2013 TOP 6 Six. Swans (twice) ,Hawthorn, Carlton, Fremantle and Geelong.

GAMES AGAINST 2013 BOTTOM 6 Seven. St Kilda, Melbourne (twice), Bulldogs twice, Gold Coast, West Coast.

WHAT THEY SAY "This is a very exciting fixture for Giants and AFL fans in Sydney who will have the chance to see the Giants play against some of the biggest clubs in the competition. We also have a good spread of time slots for families with a mix of Saturday afternoon, twilight, Saturday night and Sunday matches at Giants Stadium." – chief executive David Matthews

WHAT WE SAY: Hopeful of making a significant improvement on last year's one-win campaign, the Giants open with only two games against last year's top six teams over the first 13 rounds. Facing the Demons and Dogs twice, they will like their chances of adding to just three victories in total in their short history.

CLICK HERE FOR THE GIANTS' FULL 2014 FIXTURE

Hawthorn

CLUBS YOU PLAY TWICE Geelong, Fremantle, Collingwood, Sydney Swans, Gold Coast

PROS 15 games on free to air TV. A chance to unfurl the premiership flag in Tasmania and Victoria.

CONS Large number of six-day breaks

HIGHLIGHTS Two MCG blockbusters against Geelong and two against Collingwood.

TOUGHEST RUN Play Fremantle (Patersons Stadium), Geelong (MCG) and Collingwood (MCG) in the last three rounds.

TRAVEL Four trips to Launceston, two to Adelaide and one to Perth, Sydney and Gold Coast.

GAMES AGAINST 2013 TOP 6 Eight. Geelong (twice), Fremantle (twice), Sydney Swans (twice), Carlton, Port Adelaide

GAMES AGAINST 2013 BOTTOM 6 Seven. Gold Coast (twice), West Coast, Western Bulldogs, St Kilda, Melbourne, Greater Western Sydney.

WHAT THEY SAY "I think it presents some great opportunities both commercially and from a football perspective, it's pretty balanced and a fair outcome for us. It's a really good fixture this year; we're really pleased with it." Hawthorn CEO Stuart Fox

WHAT WE SAY The side that wins the flag always gets a tough draw the following season and that's the case once again.

CLICK HERE FOR THE HAWKS' FULL 2014 FIXTURE

Below: Isaac Smith celebrates a goal for the Hawks during the 2013 Grand Final. Picture: AFL Media




Melbourne

CLUBS YOU PLAY TWICE: West Coast, Greater Western Sydney, Western Bulldogs, Port Adelaide, North Melbourne.

PROS Good news on the football front for Paul Roos with the Demons a chance to get the points in four of the first five games when they play St Kilda, the Eagles (in Victoria), Greater Western Sydney (away), Carlton and Gold Coast (in Victoria).

CONS No Friday night games and nine Sunday games gives Melbourne supporters a different view of the footy.

HIGHLIGHTS A game for premiership points against Port Adelaide in Alice Springs in round 11 is one Dom Barry – who was born in Alice Springs – should pencil in as a target.

TOUGHEST RUN: Between round 17-20 the Demons face Fremantle (away), Geelong, Port Adelaide (away), the Brisbane Lions (in Victoria) and Hawthorn. Hopefully the club has a few wins chalked up before then.

TRAVEL Plays six games outside Victoria but two are home games, with one played in Alice Springs and one played in Darwin as Melbourne builds its Northern Territory connection.

GAMES AGAINST 2013 TOP 6 Seven. Only plays Port Adelaide twice and just three of the top six before round 15. As if playing Carlton, Geelong, Hawthorn, Fremantle and the Sydney Swans just once isn't enough of a bonus, the Demons do not play any of 2013's top three teams until round 16.

GAMES AGAINST 2013 BOTTOM 6 Eight. Melbourne's fixture includes two clashes against the Bulldogs, Giants and the Eagles. It plays St Kilda in round one and the Suns in round five and then does not see them again.

WHAT THEY SAY "We are pleased to be playing our traditional Queen's Birthday game against Collingwood and two games in the Northern Territory, building on our relationships in the Top End that began in 2010. Of course, our members and supporters will be provided with replacement games at our home, the MCG, for those games in the NT. The commercial opportunities in the 2014 fixture reflects our on-field performance over the last couple of years. We accept that and look forward to improved commercial fixtures in the future as our team improves." – chief executive Peter Jackson

WHAT WE SAY A dream draw in football terms, gives it an opportunity to chalk some wins up early. A necessary leg up as it works its way back to competitiveness.

CLICK HERE FOR THE DEMONS' FULL 2014 FIXTURE

North Melbourne

CLUBS YOU PLAY TWICE Western Bulldogs, Melbourne, Adelaide, Geelong, Brisbane Lions.

PROS Five Friday night games highlight the Roos as an emerging team, and only one of the teams they play twice – Geelong – made the finals last year.

CONS Two trips to Perth within five weeks isn't a great result, and their run home is interspersed with trips interstate every couple of rounds.

HIGHLIGHTS New North recruit Nick Dal Santo will face up against St Kilda for the first time in round 17, at Blundstone Arena in Tasmania.

TOUGHEST RUN The Roos have a difficult opening six weeks to the season. Essendon, Port Adelaide, Sydney, Collingwood and Fremantle are included in that group, with the Kangaroos only appearing the outright favourite against the Western Bulldogs in that lot.

TRAVEL Sydney Swans, SCG (round four), Fremantle, Patersons Stadium (round six), West Coast, Patersons Stadium (round 11), Adelaide, Adelaide Oval (round 13), Brisbane Lions, Gabba (round 15), St Kilda, Blundstone Arena (round 17), GWS, StarTrack Oval (round 20), Adelaide, Blundstone Arena (round 22).

GAMES AGAINST 2013 TOP 6 Seven. Port Adelaide, Sydney Swans, Fremantle, Geelong (twice), Hawthorn, Carlton.

GAMES AGAINST 2013 BOTTOM 6 Seven. Western Bulldogs (twice), Gold Coast, West Coast, Melbourne (twice), GWS.

WHAT THEY SAY "This year's fixture gives us an opportunity to play in some big games in some great timeslots, and that further exposes our players to what we want, which is high pressure situations where the stakes are high. We travel eight times, and we've got seven six-day breaks, so there are certainly challenges in this fixture. " - North Melbourne coach Brad Scott

WHAT WE SAY The travel makes it harder, but at least the Roos have a reasonable run against the teams they play twice. It's a middle-of-the-road fixture that, with some improvement on-field, North can make into a good one.

CLICK HERE FOR THE KANGAROOS' FULL 2014 FIXTURE


 Rising stars North Melbourne and Port Adelaide will clash early in the 2014 season. Picture: AFL Media

Port Adelaide

CLUBS YOU PLAY TWICE: Carlton, Adelaide Crows, Fremantle, Melbourne, Sydney Swans.

PROS The players and football department will enjoy having 13 games on a Saturday and one on a Friday night. Getting the home game for the opening showdown at Adelaide Oval is a bonus.

CONS Play against three top-six teams twice, ending the year at Patersons Stadium in round 23 and playing just one game at the MCG. 

HIGHLIGHTS The first game at the Adelaide Oval is a home game Showdown for the Power. It will be memorable, while being part of the first game for premiership points at Alice Springs will be another honour.

TOUGHEST RUN Plays Geelong, Fremantle and Hawthorn at home at Adelaide Oval between rounds 6-10 but has the Giants and a bye in between.

TRAVEL: Plays 12 games at home and 10 interstate. Goes to Victoria just four times and to Queensland just once.

GAMES AGAINST 2013 TOP 6 Eight. Plays Carlton, Fremantle and the Sydney Swans twice, with the away clash against the Dockers ending its season. It plays Hawthorn and Geelong just once.

GAMES AGAINST 2013 BOTTOM 6 Seven. Plays Melbourne twice, with one game at home and one at Alice Springs. It only plays the Giants, Suns and Eagles once but is away in each case and the Bulldogs and St Kilda once each at Adelaide Oval.

WHAT THEY SAY "It is a huge honour to host the first game at the redeveloped Adelaide Oval against the Crows and it gives our members an incredible first opportunity to be part of history and enjoy the experience at this stadium." – chief executive Keith Thomas

WHAT WE SAY Seems a tough but not crippling draw for the big improvers in 2013. There is little relief with a top shelf opponent appearing every few weeks.

CLICK HERE FOR THE POWER'S FULL 2014 FIXTURE

Richmond

CLUBS YOU PLAY TWICE Brisbane Lions, Greater Western Sydney, St Kilda, Sydney Swans and Essendon.

PROS Play only one top-four team twice.

CONS Lack of blockbusters, due to only playing Collingwood and Carlton once

HIGHLIGHTS First Sunday night match against North Melbourne in round 12, and first trip to ANZ Stadium to play the Sydney Swans in round 23.

TOUGHEST RUN Play North Melbourne, Fremantle and the Sydney Swans between rounds 12 and 14, although all the matches are in Melbourne.

TRAVEL Six games outside Victoria, made up of two games in Sydney and one in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Perth and Adelaide

GAMES AGAINST 2013 TOP 6 Seven. Sydney Swans (twice), Hawthorn, Fremantle, Geelong, Carlton, Port Adelaide.

GAMES AGAINST 2013 BOTTOM 6 Eight. St Kilda (twice), Greater Western Sydney (twice), West Coast, Gold Coast, Western Bulldogs, Melbourne.

WHAT THEY SAY

WHAT WE SAY A very favourable draw, which increases the pressure on the Tigers to finish near the top of the ladder in 2014.

CLICK HERE FOR THE TIGERS' FULL 2014 FIXTURE












The Tigers and Blues only play each other once in 2014, and not in round two. Picture: AFL Media

 

St Kilda

CLUBS YOU PLAY TWICE Carlton, West Coast, Richmond, Adelaide, Gold Coast.

PROS St Kilda isn't expected to have a very successful season next year but could start it well. The Saints' opening two opponents, Melbourne and GWS, are the only teams that finished below them in 2013.

CONS It's not an easy finish for the Saints, who play four of their last seven games interstate. And they are placed all over, too, heading to Tasmania, Perth, Sydney and then Adelaide to close their home and away season.

HIGHLIGHTS The Saints will again trek to New Zealand on Anzac Day, this time facing the Brisbane Lions at Wellington. They are working to establish a presence in New Zealand and this will be their marquee opportunity.

TOUGHEST RUN From round 11 to 18, the Saints face Collingwood, Port Adelaide (away), Geelong, West Coast, Richmond, Carlton, North Melbourne and Fremantle. It's not going to be an easy stretch.

TRAVEL West Coast, Patersons Stadium (round three), Brisbane Lions, Westpac Stadium (round six), Port Adelaide, Adelaide Oval (round 12), North Melbourne, Blundstone Arena (round 17), Gold Coast, Metricon (round 19), Sydney Swans, SCG (round 21), Adelaide, Adelaide Oval (round 23).

GAMES AGAINST 2013 TOP 6 Seven. Hawthorn, Carlton (twice), Port Adelaide, Geelong, Fremantle, Sydney Swans.

GAMES AGAINST 2013 BOTTOM 6  Seven. Melbourne, Greater Western Sydney, West Coast (twice), Gold Coast (twice), Western Bulldogs.

WHAT THEY SAY "The prospect of playing in Tasmania every year, along with our pioneering Monday night match against Carlton, Anzac Day in Wellington and the Indigenous Round Collingwood blockbuster is really exciting for our members." – chief executive Michael Nettlefold

WHAT WE SAY The Saints couldn't expect a lot better, given their form this season. Only two prime-time Friday night appearances shows their standing in the competition as they embark on an aggressive rebuild.

CLICK HERE FOR THE SAINTS' FULL 2014 FIXTURE

Sydney Swans

CLUBS YOU PLAY TWICE GWS, Hawthorn, Essendon, Port Adelaide, Richmond

PROS Two games against cross-town rivals GWS remains a benefit, although the Giants should be more competitive this year. They also have four Friday night fixtures, including two at home, and won't have to play the Cats in Geelong for the first time since 2005.

CONS Outside of the Giants, the four other opponents the Swans meet twice will all be aiming for finals football.

HIGHLIGHTS The season-opener at Giants Stadium, with Buddy Franklin, Shane Mumford, Heath Shaw and Josh Hunt in new colours, should be close to a sell-out. They are also set for some blockbusters, including Friday night showdowns with Hawthorn (ANZ), Essendon (Etihad and the SCG) and Richmond (MCG).

TOUGHEST RUN The Hawks, Bombers and Cats in mid-season will be a real test, as will the Eagles in Perth, followed by Carlton, Hawthorn and Essendon between rounds 16-19.

TRAVEL They face back-to-back games in Melbourne and Brisbane in rounds six and seven, something they were hoping to avoid. The Swans also have five games in Melbourne, two in Adelaide and one each in Perth, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

GAMES AGAINST 2013 TOP 6 Seven. Fremantle, Hawthorn (twice), Geelong, Port Adelaide (twice) and Carlton

GAMES AGAINST 2013 BOTTOM SIX Seven GWS (twice), Melbourne, Gold Coast, West Coast, St Kilda and the Bulldogs.

WHAT THEY SAY "With seven of our 11 home games against last season's top eight teams, the fixture certainly provides some challenges from a football perspective but it is a great opportunity for our members, supporters and corporate partners to watch the Swans taking on the best teams in the big games," – acting chief executive Dean Moore

WHAT WE SAY The Swans' draw has had quite a shake-up. They had become accustomed to very hard run-ins to the finals, but they now face Port Adelaide away, plus the Saints, Dogs and Tigers in their final fixtures. They also have a number of huge games against fellow top-four hopefuls.

CLICK HERE FOR THE SWANS' FULL 2014 FIXTURE
 


The Eagles' kind draw takes a turn for the worse in round 16 when they face the Swans. Picture: AFL Media

West Coast

CLUBS YOU PLAY TWICE Gold Coast, Melbourne, Collingwood, Fremantle, St Kilda

PROS Eight matches against bottom-six teams from last season including playing Melbourne, St Kilda and Gold Coast twice each.

CONS Playing Geelong at Simonds Stadium, Hawthorn in Launceston and two trips to Queensland. The Eagles have paid a price for a poor season with a reduced number of blockbuster games.

HIGHLIGHTS Two derbies against Fremantle. Round 18 Friday night fixture against Richmond at home. Round 10 Saturday twilight fixture against Collingwood at the MCG.

TOUGHEST RUN The Eagles play Geelong (away), Port Adelaide (home), Carlton (away) and Fremantle (home) in a month between rounds four and seven.

TRAVEL The Eagles have 10 games away from Perth. Three matches at Etihad Stadium, two at the MCG, trips to Simonds Stadium, Aurora Stadium, the Gabba, Adelaide Oval and Metricon Stadium.

GAMES AGAINST 2013 TOP 6 Six. Hawthorn, Fremantle, Geelong, Sydney, Port Adelaide, Carlton.

GAMES AGAINST 2013 BOTTOM 6 Eight. Melbourne (twice), St Kilda (twice), Gold Coast (twice), Greater Western Sydney, Western Bulldogs.

WHAT THEY SAY "It's a well-balanced fixture for us and we are looking forward to what the season presents. The AFL has reduced the number of six-day breaks between games, which is one of our key objectives, given we travel so much. The downside would be playing away against the Gold Coast in round 23, but you are never going to receive a draw that completely satisfies and we understand the difficulties associated with the AFL trying to find a balance in the fixture." - chief executive officer Trevor Nisbett 

WHAT WE SAY It looks a very kind draw on paper for West Coast but there will be a lot of tough away games in 2014. Away wins are important if the Eagles are to make the top eight.

CLICK HERE FOR THE EAGLES' FULL 2014 FIXTURE

Western Bulldogs

CLUBS YOU PLAY TWICE North Melbourne, Greater Western Sydney, Essendon, Melbourne, Gold Coast

PROS A huge number of games played at Etihad Stadium could allow them to turn the ground into a fortress. They only play 2013's top-six sides once each.

CONS The number of games played at Etihad Stadium could also work against the Bulldogs and leave them struggling to play on other grounds, particularly in adverse conditions.

HIGHLIGHTS Will Stewart Crameri receive a warm reception when Essendon host the Bulldogs on a Saturday night at Etihad Stadium in round seven?

TOUGHEST RUN From round 16 to 19 they'll play Geelong at Simonds Stadium, Gold Coast in Cairns, Essendon and then Hawthorn in Tasmania.

TRAVEL The Dogs will only venture outside Victoria on five occasions and only three of those are on flights of more than 90 minutes.

GAMES AGAINST 2013 TOP 6 Six games - Carlton, Fremantle, Port Adelaide, Geelong, Hawthorn, Sydney Swans.

GAMES AGAINST 2013 BOTTOM 6 Seven games – GWS (twice), St Kilda, Melbourne, West Coast, Gold Coast (twice).

WHAT THEY SAY "While the football component of the fixture has been progressed in terms of starting to maximise competition, we believe more needs to be done in regards to providing improved fixture outcomes for smaller clubs in relation to revenue opportunities and exposure." – chief executive Simon Garlick

WHAT WE SAY The Bulldogs have scored a favourable draw. They'll play 14 games at Etihad Stadium so should be able to use those conditions to their advantage and won't meet a top-six team from 2013 twice.

CLICK HERE FOR THE BULLDOGS' FULL 2014 FIXTURE

The Dogs have a favourable draw, playing 2013's top six sides only once. Picture: AFL Media
  

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