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Fixture reaction: What the clubs said

EXCLUSIVE: Week off before the 2016 finals series Simon Lethlean reveals to a radical new element to the 2016 Fixture

• Click here for the full fixture
• Top teams light up Friday nights
• AFL introduces week off before finals

"Our key requests have been met and we are happy with the result. Thursday night football was a great success for us this season so we are pleased that we have been rewarded again in 2016. Similarly, the team has been recognised for their exciting footy last year with 12 night games across the season. A highlight will be the Friday night clash against Geelong, which will be massive for a variety of reasons, but there are blockbusters right across our 11 home games. From an on-field perspective, we are also pleased to be playing more games in Melbourne, including three at the MCG." – CEO Andrew Fagan.

"It's a pretty challenging fixture and a particularly tough start, with the opening three games against potentially top-four teams. But we are delighted to have seven games in Victoria, that is a great result for our loyal fans who have been asking for an extra game in Melbourne for a while now, and to get Hawthorn, Collingwood, Carlton, Geelong and the Suns as blockbusters at the Gabba gives us some big games to market to the fans up in Queensland." – CEO Greg Swann.



"Our members have welcomed more Saturday and Sunday afternoon matches, especially those with children and junior members. Now we need to make sure we take this opportunity to create family-fun events on game day to encourage families of all ages to get along to the footy. Our South Australian members and supporters are very important to us and we have expressed our frustration to the AFL that once again we will not be travelling to Adelaide. We certainly asked for a game is South Australia." – CEO Steven Trigg.

"It is definitely a great draw. Our members and supporters love the MCG and its big occasions, and we have 11 of our first 14 matches at the MCG. In all, 14 of our 22 games will be played at our home ground the MCG next season, with blockbuster encounters against traditional rivals Richmond, Carlton and Essendon and contenders West Coast, Fremantle, Geelong, Hawthorn and Port Adelaide among them. We have 11 of the first 14 rounds in Melbourne, at the MCG, and the last six matches of the season in Melbourne. This is a fixture both our fans and players can be very comfortable with." – CEO Gary Pert.

The 2016 fixture explained

"We are disappointed a number of our requests were overlooked by the AFL. Our draw presents some commercial challenges for the football club, with only one home Friday night and Saturday night game in 2016. We are happy with the draw from a football perspective. We only have six six-day breaks, we don't have to travel interstate after round 19 and we play the final three games of the season at home. We are extremely proud to be part of the iconic games in ANZAC Day, Dreamtime at the ’G and the newly created 'Country Game.' These games celebrate and pay respect to the incredible people who have shaped our nation in their own unique way." – CEO Xavier Campbell.

"While we are pleased that the AFL responded positively to our request for a reduction in the number of six-day breaks, we are very disappointed that we have been scheduled to play only four games in Melbourne and the affect of this is that we play four games across Queensland, Tasmania and the Northern Territory. Given that we have one of the most demanding travel schedules in the league, we believe the AFL has placed an unfair burden on the club by scheduling so many games in venues that require much longer flight times than Perth to Melbourne and return for example." – CEO Steve Rosich.

"Overall we are very happy with the fixture. It's always a challenge for the AFL to satisfy clubs, but with eight games here at Simonds Stadium and a good spread of day and night games throughout the fixture, is definitely a win for our members and supporters. In an ideal world we would host all 11 home games at Simonds Stadium, but we understand this is not possible. Having said that, we would prefer to play our Melbourne home games at the MCG, and will continue to push this issue with the AFL." – CEO Brian Cook.

"For the second year in a row, Metricon Stadium is set to host all of our home games on a Saturday.
The feedback from our members has been incredibly strong that they prefer to attend Saturday matches, particularly in the twilight timeslot.
In 2016, half of our home games will be twilight matches at Metricon Stadium, and in a win for the city we will host Carlton and St Kilda on the coast during the Victorian school holidays creating great economic impact for the Gold Coast economy." – CEO Andrew Travis

"We're delighted to have five of our eight home games in Sydney scheduled in the family-friendly time slot of 4.35pm on a Saturday afternoon. These twilight games are very popular with our members and fans as evidenced by the strong attendance growth in 2015. We're thrilled to have Richmond playing in Canberra for the first time, as well as Geelong returning after a sell-out crowd at StarTrack Oval last season. Overall we think it’s a solid fixture as we come off our best season yet. With an exciting young playing list ready to embark on a big season in 2016, there is a lot to look forward to as a Giants fan." – CEO Dave Matthews. 

"Overall we are pleased with the 2016 fixture, and think it's a strong draw for Hawks fans and members. We have drawn seven home games at the MCG, with big match-ups against West Coast Eagles, Richmond, Sydney Swans, North Melbourne and Collingwood that are certain to attract big crowds. Additionally, we are scheduled to play Adelaide Crows on Friday night at the MCG to kick off ANZAC Round and we face Melbourne in the family friendly Saturday afternoon slot in Round 11 at home." – CEO Stuart Fox.

"We play eight of the first 12 games at the MCG and from a football point of view we have no back-to-back six-day breaks, which is pleasing. Securing the Anzac Eve match against the Tigers on a Sunday Night is a good result for both clubs. If we are to be true to the concept of honouring the night before the Anzac landing and if our supporters want to own a significant time slot on the AFL calendar, like Anzac Eve, then we must respect the opportunity we have been given and make Sunday night work." – CEO Peter Jackson.

"Our fans will be pleased to see us playing more games on Friday night this season, as well as several other prime-time games, including four Saturday night matches and a Thursday night game against Adelaide at the Adelaide Oval. We're also pleased to be making history in 2016, playing the first ever Friday night match in Hobart against Richmond in June. We're expecting a bumper crowd and know this is going to be a massive occasion for all Tasmanians. We're really happy to see, if all goes to plan, 'Boomer' will play his record breaking 427th game at home, with a series of games scheduled in Melbourne towards the latter end of the season." – CEO Carl Dilena

"As a club we are looking forward to hosting St Kilda in our season opener in round one and then to host Essendon and Richmond in Friday night games across the season is hugely significant, along with Hawthorn on a Thursday night. Above all though, we are honoured to be able to host Geelong on a Saturday night in Anzac Round. Port Adelaide continues to enjoy a wonderful partnership with the RSL and defence community so for us to again be given the opportunity to host this game in Adelaide is an enormous privilege that we are very proud of." – CEO Keith Thomas.

"We think this is a great fixture for both our fans and our commercial partners. A similar fixture last season saw us number one in the competition for home-and-away crowds, so we expect it will again be embraced by our members and supporters. In terms of specifics, we have worked hard to develop the season-opener against Carlton as a marquee event, and we are pleased that has again been supported. Given the success of our inaugural Anzac Eve match against Melbourne last season, it was important we had the opportunity to work with Melbourne to further embed it as an annual game, and we have been given that opportunity." – CEO Brendan Gale.

"This fixture is very good for the Saints from both football and fan perspectives and it gives us more opportunity to succeed on and off the field. It's particularly exciting that our season gets off to a flying start with blockbuster home games in round two against the Western Bulldogs and round three against Collingwood. All going well, the round two clash will serve both as a 300-game celebration for Nick Riewoldt and as the selected game to raise awareness and funds for Maddie Riewoldt's Vision (MRV). What a game this will be – a celebration of a club legend and the chance to educate people about the illness that so sadly claimed his sister's life. The following week we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of our 1966 Premiership win against Collingwood with a Saturday afternoon clash at the MCG." – CEO Matt Finnis

"With Swans matches being played in stadiums in all states in 2016 this truly is a great draw for our members and supporters. The annual Marngrook match to kick off the newly named Sir Doug Nicholls Round will once again be a terrific community event while playing in the first Pride Match against St Kilda is a great initiative and something we're proud to be part of. We requested a good number of games in Melbourne in 2016 and we're fortunate our Victorian fans will be able to see the team in action six times next season. While we've been scheduled three matches at ANZ Stadium in the last year of our contract, as the AFL said earlier in the week, the club is open to relocating the fixtures to the SCG if future negotiations made this possible. – CEO Andrew Ireland

"On balance the West Coast Eagles are pleased with the 2016 fixture. After playing in the 2015 grand final we were expecting a challenging draw and that has certainly been forthcoming. While we would have preferred fewer six day breaks (there are eight in the fixture) our coaching and fitness staff will manage that situation, as they did this year. As a club, we are also looking forward to a number of other initiatives in this fixture, including … playing three games at the MCG, which is a significant improvement on the one game we played there in-season in 2015." – CEO Trevor Nisbett.

"We're thrilled with the draw for 2016 and we thank the AFL for their support. To have three Friday night games, and also to play some of the biggest clubs in our home games, it makes for a fantastic season ahead — and was great recognition of the playing group and the coaches on an incredible 2015. Friday nights are important for our club because it gives us great viewership across the country and we haven't played a Friday night game since 2012 so we're really pleased to play three Friday night games in 2016." – CEO David Stevenson.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs