IN AN unprecedented move, the AFL has flagged a potential fixture swap to accommodate a rival code.
Releasing the official 2019 Toyota AFL Premiership Season Fixture on Thursday, the League indicated round nine games at Adelaide Oval and Marvel Stadium could be swapped for the AFL-owned venue to host the A-League Grand Final.
FULL FIXTURE Every round, every game
While the League took control at the Docklands stadium in 2017, a contract for Melbourne Victory to play games there remains in place.
If Victory earn the right to host the 2019 domestic soccer decider, the AFL will swap a scheduled Saturday night match between Essendon and Fremantle on May 18 to Sunday afternoon in the early timeslot on May 19.
EASTER THURSDAY Lions back in prime time
To accommodate the swap, Port Adelaide and Gold Coast would be forced to change their game to Saturday night at Adelaide Oval.
Neither the Power or Suns would be disadvantaged by a short break, as both will still have a minimum seven days between matches even if the timeslot swap goes ahead.
ROUND ONE Who plays who?
"What we have done, which is a little unusual for us, we'll make a decision closer to the start of the season, late March, before the season starts," fixture executive Travis Auld said.
"It's a better game on a Saturday night, Essendon-Fremantle on a Saturday night, it's the right slot for it, but we value our partnership with the Victorian government, and it's a venue for all sports.
"You shouldn't see that as a leader for what we might do in other slots, it's a very unique situation, it's a long-standing commitment we've had and one we plan to continue."
PROS AND CONS Our verdict on your club's fixture
The AFL has again gone with a flexible fixture for all nine round 23 games, allowing it to maximise attendances and television audiences for the final round of the season.
However Auld revealed having 'flex' fixtures for rounds 21 and 22 was also considered.
"There's an opportunity I suppose on paper to float the last two or three rounds similar to what we do in round 23," Auld said.
"We constructed the fixture on the basis that we wouldn't do that, and then we went and looked at the those last few rounds and said what opportunity is there to move some around.
WHO MAKES FINALS? Do the 2019 Ladder Predictor
"The upside you might get in moving one game isn't outweighed by the opportunity to have certainty for fans who like to book their flights come this afternoon to go and watch their team play outside their home state."
The AFL has again scheduled a bye weekend from August 30 to September 1 ahead of the first weekend of the finals series, which again could include a Thursday night final on September 5.
MORE FIXTURE REVEALS Prime time Canberra, Blues in Tassie
The AFL Grand Final is scheduled for Saturday, September 28.