THE AFL has floated with clubs the possibility of sending two more earlier fixtures to Queensland as part of its split round proposal to begin the 2024 season.
AFL.com.au revealed on Monday that the League had asked clubs for feedback on its idea of playing two standalone fixtures in NSW a weekend before next year's traditional round one games took place.
But it's now understood the AFL is also contemplating a further two fixtures in Queensland across that same earlier weekend, which would feature Brisbane playing a home match at the Gabba and Gold Coast hosting Richmond.
One option being considered is for the Lions to play Carlton in a rematch of last season's preliminary final, while a Suns-Tigers matchup would see Damien Hardwick coaching against his former side for the first time.
That proposal would enable both the Blues and the Tigers to play in Queensland across the earlier weekend, before returning to Victoria for their annual Thursday night clash at the MCG the following week.
As reported on Monday the League had already floated with clubs the idea of fixturing Greater Western Sydney against Collingwood on the Saturday night, before Sydney would host Melbourne on the Sunday afternoon.
Giants chief executive Dave Matthews has since confirmed AFL.com.au's report, saying "it's still to be locked away by the AFL over the next few weeks" but "that's certainly the plan".
The NSW games proposed by the AFL would feature the Magpies' rematch of their preliminary final win over the Giants from last season, as well as Brodie Grundy's Swans taking on his former team in the Demons for the first time.
Under the proposal, which has been sent to clubs and caveated by the fact it is only a draft version and is not final, the eight clubs involved in the earlier weekend would also play the following week and then enjoy a bye shortly after.
The early bye would allow for the remaining 10 teams who did not take part that weekend to catch up on fixtures, while all teams would still get a mid-season break later in the campaign.
The proposed fixture would be the first step in new AFL chief executive Andrew Dillon's ongoing plan to grow the game in the northern states, putting the entire weekend's spotlight on blockbuster fixtures in both Queensland and NSW.
After meeting with clubs over the last few months, it's understood Dillon wants to have more high-drawing games earlier in the season in the northern states.
The League last trialled a split round to begin a season back in 2014, with four games played across an earlier weekend before the remaining five matches were played the following week.