GEELONG and Essendon will kick off the 2021 AFL Community Series pre-season fixtures with a Thursday night clash at GMHBA Stadium on February 18.

The Cats-Bombers clash begins a run of 18 games at 18 different venues across the country as each club plays two games in three weeks to tune up for the Toyota AFL Premiership season.

FULL PRE-SEASON FIXTURE Check it out here

The first nine games will be spread over the first two weeks of the schedule, with the second 'round' of nine games to be played across five days in the first week of March.

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The Giants and Swans will play in a Sydney Derby on Saturday, February 20 at Blacktown and a pre-season QClash will take place between Gold Coast and Brisbane on Saturday, February 27, at Metricon Stadium.

>> Click here to download a PDF fixture for the 2021 AFL Community Series

West Coast and Fremantle will conclude the series on Sunday, March 7 with their clash at Mandurah, but South Australian fans will need to wait for the premiership season for their first dose of Showdown footy.

Dockers star Nat Fyfe drives the ball forward during the AFL pre-season clash against the Eagles in 2020. Picture: AFL Photos

"Our two objectives for the pre-season fixture are to give clubs the best opportunity to prepare ahead of the season and to take matches to supporters in local and regional communities," AFL executive general manager Travis Auld said.

"The AFL Community Series will see football played at local grounds right across the country and we are really looking forward to connecting the elite men’s game to regional and suburban footy grounds, allowing fans to be able to watch their teams in action in their own backyard."

FULL STATEMENT 2021 AFL Community Series fixture released

Ticketing details for the 2021 AFL Community Series will be released closer to the start of the fixture.