REIGNING premier Melbourne will take on challenger Brisbane in a Friday night blockbuster to launch the final round of the season in a clash that is set to have massive top-four implications. 

The AFL released details of the round 23 fixture on Tuesday, with the second-placed Demons and third-placed Lions to kick off the weekend at the Gabba at 7.50pm AEST in what shapes as the match of the round. 

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The final round of the season will also include a super Sunday headlined by the mouth-watering clash between rivals Collingwood and Carlton at the MCG.  

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The Blues (seventh) and Magpies (fourth) will be jostling for top-eight prominence and could even have top-four hopes on the line, with the crunch game starting at 3.20pm AEST on August 21. 

The final day of the home and away season will also feature the finals-shaping clash between St Kilda and Sydney, while the Western Bulldogs' top-eight hopes could come down to their match against Hawthorn.    

The resurgent Essendon do battle with finals aspirant Richmond on Saturday night at the MCG, starting at 7.25pm AEST, with the Showdown between Port Adelaide and Adelaide also in primetime. 

Jack Crisp tackles Lochie O'Brien during Collingwood's clash with Carlton in round 11, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

Saturday starts with Greater Western Sydney taking on Fremantle, and North Melbourne hosting Gold Coast. Ladder leader Geelong will round out its excellent season with a twilight clash against West Coast.

"The top eight is still very much in the balance, and if the matches are anything like what we witnessed last weekend, it's sure to be one of the best rounds of the season," AFL executive general manager of finance, clubs and broadcast Travis Auld said. 

Tom Hawkins celebrates a goal during Geelong's clash with West Coast in round 14, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

"The 2022 season has been more like the game we know and love, a return to the rituals of going to the footy and barracking for our teams but it hasn't been without its challenges. 

WE PREDICT THE LADDER Top eight, double chance, who misses?

"We want to thank every fan who turned up week after week to support their club and hopefully help them land a coveted spot in the top eight.

"These nine match-ups are a great way to close to the home and away season and a perfect lead into week one of the 2022 Toyota AFL Finals Series."

Round 23

Friday, August 19

Brisbane v Melbourne at the Gabba, 7.50pm AEST (SEVEN)

Saturday, August 20

Greater Western Sydney v Fremantle at Manuka Oval, 1.45pm AEST (FOX)
North Melbourne v Gold Coast at Marvel Stadium, 2.10pm AEST (FOX)
Geelong v West Coast at GMHBA Stadium, 4.35pm AEST (FOX)
Essendon v Richmond at the MCG, 7.25pm AEST (SEVEN)
Port Adelaide v Adelaide at Adelaide Oval, 7.00pm ACST (FOX)

Sunday, August 21

Hawthorn v Western Bulldogs at UTAS Stadium, 1.10pm AEST (FOX)
Carlton v Collingwood at the MCG, 3.20pm AEST (SEVEN)
St Kilda v Sydney at Marvel Stadium, 4.40pm AEST (FOX)