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All-time record tumbles as round one attendance tops 400,000

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 25: Bombers fans cheer as new captain Dyson Heppell of the Bombers takes possession of the ball before the siren during the 2017 AFL round 01 match between the Essendon Bombers and the Hawthorn Hawks at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 25, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
Essendon fans celebrate during their emotional win over the Hawks on Saturday night

A HUGE opening round of the 2017 season has drawn the biggest total crowd of any single round in VFL/AFL history. 

The attendance across the nine games of round one was 400,401, breaking the 400,000 mark for the first time and surpassing the previous high of 371,212 in round 13, 2015. 

The previous best for round one was 367,792 in 2012. 

Essendon's emotional win over Hawthorn at the MCG on Saturday night drew the round's biggest crowd, at 78,294. It was the biggest home-and-away attendance for a match between those two clubs. 

Thursday night's season opener between Carlton and Richmond at the MCG attracted 73,137 while 66,254 turned out at the 'G the following night to watch the reigning premiers, the Western Bulldogs, open their flag defence against Collingwood.

The three MCG matches drew a total of 217,685. 

Elsewhere, a raucous crowd of 43,993 watched Adelaide's big win over Greater Western Sydney at Adelaide Oval, while 34,638 were on hand at Domain Stadium to watch Nat Fyfe's Fremantle take on Patrick Dangerfield's Geelong.

Top 10 biggest VFL/AFL single-round attendances

1. 400,401 - round 1, 2017
2. 371,212 - round 15, 2013
3. 367,974 - round 22, 1998
4. 367,792 - round 1, 2012
5. 365,867 - round 1, 2013
6. 365,491 - round 5, 2016
7. 364,544 - round 1, 2007
8. 361,450 - round 17, 2009
9. 360,850 - round 1, 2016
10. 359,470 - round 1, 2015