RICHMOND and Hawthorn will meet in the finals for the first time in history in a blockbuster Thursday night clash in just under a fortnight.

The AFL announced the fixture for the first week of the 2018 Toyota AFL Finals Series, with the reigning premiers and fourth-placed Hawks to do battle in the first qualifying final on Thursday, September 6 at 7.20pm AEST.


West Coast and Collingwood close the finals series with a mouth-watering qualifying final at Optus Stadium on Saturday night.

Week 1 Toyota AFL Finals Series

Thursday, September 6

First qualifying final 
Richmond v Hawthorn at the MCG, 7.20pm AEST

Friday, September 7

First elimination final 
Melbourne v Geelong at the MCG, 7.50pm AEST (series ticket match)

Saturday, September 8

Second elimination final 
Sydney v Greater Western Sydney at the SCG, 4.20pm AEST 

Second qualifying final 
West Coast v Collingwood at Optus Stadium, 6.10pm AWST

The elimination finals kick off on Friday with a blockbuster between Melbourne and Geelong at the MCG. 

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Both matches this year have been thrillers with the Cats winning by three points in round one at the MCG and by two points at GMHBA Stadium.

There will be a Sydney derby in the finals for the second time in history when the Swans host the Giants on Saturday evening in the other elimination final.

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The last time they played each other in the finals was in 2016 when the fourth-placed Giants upset the minor premiers by 36 points at Stadium Australia. 

AFL general manager of clubs and broadcasting Travis Auld said the AFL was seeking to maximise both match-day attendance and television viewership for all finals, as well as balancing equitable breaks where possible for all clubs in the finals.

The AFL chose to open the finals with a Thursday night match, after the success in recent years in this timeslot with both attendance and television viewership.

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As the loser of that match would then play the winner of Melbourne v Geelong Cats in week two, it was deemed that the first elimination final should be played as the Friday game, to ensure a similarity of length of breaks for all clubs in the finals.

With the loser of West Coast v Collingwood to host the winner of the Sydney derby, all clubs who play in week two of the finals will have at least a seven-day break from week one into their next match.