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Ten things you may have missed about the fixture

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 01: The stadium is seen during the 2016 Toyota AFL Grand Final match between the Sydney Swans and the Western Bulldogs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on October 01, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Justine Walker/AFL Media)
The MCG will be vacant on all but three Friday nights in the 2017 season

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1. Friday-free MCG

Just three games will be played at the MCG on a Friday night this season, the fewest Friday night games at the venue in one season since regular Friday night football started in 1986. The MCG is happy with the mix of games given it has two Thursday night matches, but Friday night lights will look different in 2017 with games at Etihad Stadium, the SCG, Domain Stadium, Adelaide Oval, Manuka Oval and Simonds Stadium.

2. Collingwood v Carlton: Traditional yet rare

Collingwood v Carlton will happen just once this season, the first time the traditional rivals have not met twice in a season since 1991. This year's game on May 6 will be a key part of Collingwood's 125th anniversary celebrations.

3. At home, then away

Melbourne does not have to jump on a plane to play outside Victoria until round eight when it heads to Adelaide Oval. However it racks up frequent flyer points late in the season when it plays in Northern Territory, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and Canberra over the remaining 15 rounds.  

4. Eight is enough on Thursday nights

There will be eight Thursday night games in 2017, up from five last season. The AFL knows it has to be careful not to kill the goose that laid the golden egg, with AFL CEO Gill McLachlan conceding it had reached the limit. With two out of the way early it hopes too much football will never be enough.

5. No Tiger time

For the first time since 2008, the Tigers will not play a Friday night game after having 13 chances in the key timeslot in the past two seasons. It has been compensated to some extent with two Thursday night fixtures in a row to start the season.

6. Been there, done that

All 18 teams will play at the MCG and Etihad at least once in 2017, ending the justified complaints from some clubs that they were denied opportunities to play at the ground where the premiership is decided. Brisbane Lions fans based in Victoria also enjoy some overdue good news, playing six games in the garden state.

7. Etihad: under new management

Having purchased Etihad Stadium, the AFL is keen to make attending the football at the venue a much-improved experience for fans. A minimum of 46 matches have to be played at the venue, which will disappoint Geelong fans, who have two home games at the venue, and Melbourne supporters, who will see four games at Etihad. The onus is on the AFL to deliver.

8. Footy, footy, and then footy

With Easter late this season and Good Friday football to be played for the first time, the calendar is packed between rounds four and five. On 10 of the 13 days between Thursday April 13 and Anzac Day, on April 25, there will be a game of football.

9. Not docking everywhere

For the first time since 2011, Fremantle does not have to travel to either Tasmania or the Northern Territory for premiership points. The Dockers have lived Ross Lyon's mantra of 'Anywhere, anytime' with pride, but this season at least it won't be put to the test as often.

10. AFL Women's football and pre-season competition

Fixtures for both are expected next week with the AFL Women's league Grand Final scheduled for Saturday afternoon of the opening round of the AFL competition. The venue is yet to be decided, but expect some memorable images as the celebrations kick off for the first AFL Women's premiership team.