THE FIXTURE for round one of the 2022 Toyota AFL Premiership Season is out, but who will be the early favourites to taste victory in the opening week?

We've gone through the match-ups to provide a (way too early) form guide for next year's opening round of the season. 

Wednesday, March 16

Melbourne v Western Bulldogs at the MCG, 7.10pm AEDT

The season-opener features the two best teams from last season in a rematch of the 2021 Toyota AFL Grand Final. The Demons blew the Dogs away in the second half to end their premiership drought in style with a 74-point victory. In what promises to be a blockbuster opening to the season, both sides will be desperate to get off to a winning start over their premiership rivals.

Last three meetings
2021 GF: Melbourne 21.14 (140) def Western Bulldogs 10.6 (66) at Optus Stadium
2021 R19: Western Bulldogs 13.7 (85) def Melbourne 9.11 (65) at the MCG
2021 R11:  Melbourne 13.9 (87) def Western Bulldogs 8.11 (59) at Marvel Stadium

Last time at the MCG
2021 R22: Melbourne 16.8 (104) def Adelaide 9.9 (63)
2021 R19: Western Bulldogs 13.7 (85) def Melbourne 9.11 (65)

Last five round one results
Melbourne: WLLLW
Western Bulldogs: WLWLW

Christian Petracca evades a Marcus Bontempelli tackle during the 2021 Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

Thursday, March 17

Carlton v Richmond at the MCG, 7.25pm AEDT

As is tradition, the two Victorian heavyweights will clash in the opening round on Thursday night, although this time it will not be the season-opener. The Tigers have won the past 11 matches between the two sides with the Blues' last victory coming way back in 2013. It will be Michael Voss' first game in charge as he looks to get his Carlton coaching career off to a winning start.

Last three meetings
2021 R1: Richmond 15.15 (105) def Carlton 11.14 (80) at the MCG
2020 R1: Richmond 16.9 (105) def Carlton 12.9 (81) at the MCG
2019 R21: Richmond 11.7 (73) def Carlton 6.9 (45) at the MCG

Last time at the MCG
2021 R23: Richmond 12.11 (83) drew Hawthorn 12.11 (83)
2021 R18: Carlton 13.13 (91) def Collingwood 9.8 (62)

Last five round one results
Richmond: WWWWW
Carlton: LLLLL

Sam Walsh attempts to tackle Dustin Martin during round one, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Friday, March 18

St Kilda v Collingwood at Marvel Stadium, 7.50pm AEDT

The Magpies' new era under rookie coach Craig McRae begins under lights on Friday night against the Saints. With father-son recruit Nick Daicos likely to make his debut, this promises to be a must-watch match. The Saints will be looking to bounce back from last year's disappointing season where they finished 10th.

Last three meetings
2021 R16: St Kilda 10.10 (70) def Collingwood 8.13 (61) at the MCG
2020 R3: Collingwood 12.9 (81) def St Kilda 5.7 (37) at the MCG
2019 R9: Collingwood 17.10 (112) def St Kilda 10.11 (71) at the MCG

Last time at Marvel Stadium
2021 R21: St Kilda 14.9 (93) def Sydney 10.4 (64)
2021 R19: Port Adelaide 14.13 (97) def Collingwood 10.9 (69)

Last five round one results
St Kilda: WLWWL
Collingwood: LWLLL

St Kilda's Rowan Marshall competes with Collingwood's Jack Madgen in R16, 2021. Picture: Getty Images

Saturday, March 19

Geelong v Essendon at the MCG, 2.10pm AEDT

It will be a case of old v young when the veteran Cats take on the rising Bombers in the annual 'Country Game'. Geelong is once again all-in on winning the premiership, while Essendon will be looking to build on last season's finals appearance. 

Last three meetings
2021 R16: Geelong 15.8 (98) def Essendon 8.9 (57) at GMHBA Stadium
2020 R16: Geelong 17.6 (108) def Essendon 5.12 (42) at the Gabba
2019 R7: Geelong 13.8 (86) def Essendon 7.12 (54) at the MCG

Last time at the MCG
2021 R19: Geelong 15.5 (95) def Richmond 8.9 (57)
2021 R23: Essendon 16.6 (102) def Collingwood 9.10 (64)

Last five round one results
Geelong: LLWWW
Essendon: LWLWW

Brandan Parfitt tackles Archie Perkins during round 16, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Greater Western Sydney v Sydney at Accor Stadium, 5.10pm AEDT

Could this be the game Swans superstar Lance Franklin reaches the magical 1000-goal mark? Buddy only needs five majors to hit four figures and what better time to do it than against arch-rivals the Giants. The game will be played at Accor Stadium - the first for premiership points at the venue since 2016

Last three meetings
2021 EF: GWS Giants 11.8 (74) def Sydney 10.13 (73) at UTAS Stadium
2021 R18: Sydney 15.8 (98) def GWS Giants 11.6 (72) at Metricon Stadium
2021 R5: GWS Giants 9.17 (71) def Sydney 10.9 (69) at the SCG

Last time at Accor Stadium
2016 QF: GWS Giants 12.19 (91) def Sydney 7.13 (55)

Last five round one results
Sydney: WWLWL

Lance Franklin celebrates a goal against GWS in the elimination final, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Brisbane v Port Adelaide at the Gabba, 7.10pm AEST

Two of last year's top four meet in what shapes to be a cracking contest at the Gabba. Both sides are among the favourites to win the flag and will be eyeing a crucial early victory to get their 2022 rolling. 

Last three meetings
2021 R7: Brisbane 13.15 (93) def Port Adelaide 5.14 (44) at the Gabba
2020 R5: Brisbane 12.13 (85) def Port Adelaide 6.12 (48) at the Gabba
2020 R5: Brisbane 14.13 (97) def Port Adelaide 6.13 (49) at Adelaide Oval

Last time at the Gabba
2021 SF: Western Bulldogs 11.13 (79) def Brisbane 11.12 (78)
2021 R7: Brisbane 13.15 (93) def Port Adelaide 5.14 (44) at the Gabba

Last five round one results
Brisbane: LLWLW
Port Adelaide: WWWWW

Joe Daniher pressures Charlie Dixon during the Lions' clash with the Power in round seven, 2021. Picture: Getty Images

Sunday, March 20

Hawthorn v North Melbourne at the MCG, 1.10pm AEDT

Sam Mitchell will make his debut as Hawks coach against the up-and-coming Roos in an intriguing battle between two rebuilding sides. Expect to see plenty of young talent on show with No.1 draft pick Jason Horne-Francis in the frame for his debut for North. 

Last three meetings
2021 R9: North Melbourne 13.9 (87) def Hawthorn 12.8 (80) at UTAS Stadium
2020 R4: Hawthorn 8.10 (58) def North Melbourne 8.6 (54) at Marvel Stadium
2019 R20: North Melbourne 12.14 (87) def Hawthorn 9.10 (64) at Marvel Stadium

Last time at the MCG
2021 R23: Hawthorn 12.11 (83) drew Richmond 12.11 (83)
2021 R21: Richmond 13.11 (89) def North Melbourne 8.8 (56)

Last five round one results
Hawthorn: WWWWL
North Melbourne: LWLLL

James Worpel gets a handball away under pressure from Todd Goldstein during round nine, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Adelaide v Fremantle at Adelaide Oval, 3.40pm ACDT

Can the Crows pull off another strong round one performance after their shock upset of Geelong in 2021? Star recruit Jordan Dawson will make his Adelaide debut, while Fremantle will be hoping skipper Nat Fyfe avoids any more setbacks on his troublesome shoulder and is fit for round one.

Last three meetings
2021 R5: Fremantle 12.12 (84) def Adelaide 11.6 (72) at Adelaide Oval
2020 R5: Fremantle 8.6 (54) def Adelaide 4.10 (34) at Metricon Stadium
2019 R7: Adelaide 7.9 (51) def Fremantle 5.4 (34) at Adelaide Oval

Last time at Adelaide Oval
2021 R23: Adelaide 13.20 (98) def North Melbourne 8.6 (54)
2021 R11: Port Adelaide 18.7 (115) def Fremantle 9.15 (69)

Last five round one results
Adelaide: WLLLW
Fremantle: LLWLL

Michael Walters tries to evade a Luke Brown tackle in round five, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

West Coast v Gold Coast at Optus Stadium, 4.40pm AWST

Can the Suns make a hot start and finally break through for their first win at Optus Stadium? Gold Coast has lost its five previous games at the venue, including last year's round one game to the Eagles. 

Last three meetings
2021 R1: West Coast 12.11 (83) def Gold Coast 8.10 (58) at Optus Stadium
2020 R2: Gold Coast 14.6 (90) def West Coast 6.10 (46) at Metricon Stadium
2019 R7: West Coast 11.14 (80) def Gold Coast 8.9 (57) at Optus Stadium

Last time at Optus Stadium
2021 R22: Fremantle 12.7 (79) def West Coast 9.10 (64)
2021 R13: Fremantle 11.10 (76) def Gold Coast 6.13 (49)

Last five round one results
West Coast: WWLLW
Gold Coast: LLLWL

Nic Naitanui and Jarrod Witts compete during round one, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos