AFL Statement

The AFL is pleased to announce the full fixture for Rounds One to 15 of the 2023 Toyota AFL Premiership Season fixture, along with the Rounds, match ups and venues of the remaining nine rounds.

In a return to tradition, long-time rivals Richmond and Carlton will open the season on Thursday March 16, followed by 2022 Premiers Geelong Cats hosting Collingwood in a Friday night blockbuster and back-to-back games at the MCG to open the season. New St Kilda Coach Ross Lyon leads the Saints for the first time, against his old club Fremantle.

The showpiece Thursday and Friday Nights timeslots are spread across all of the key states including games at MCG, Marvel Stadium, SCG, The Gabba, Adelaide Oval and Optus Stadium.

Across the first 15 rounds, Carlton (seven), the Brisbane Lions (six) and Geelong (five) feature across the Thursday and Friday Night marquee timeslots.

The Showdown in Adelaide and Western Derby in Perth feature early in the season with both matches in Round Three, St Kilda’s 150th game celebration against Essendon at the MCG on Saturday Night, and Hawthorn vs. North Melbourne battling it out in Tasmania for the third year in a row. 

Round Four and Easter weekend once again opens with Brisbane and Collingwood at the Gabba on a Thursday night, with the annual Good Friday match, raising funds for the Royal Children’s Hospital now to be played between North Melbourne and Carlton at Marvel Stadium, and Easter Monday sees traditional rivals Geelong Cats and Hawthorn play at the MCG.

‘Gather Round… A festival of footy’ takes over South Australia in Round Five with all 18 clubs playing a match in the state for Premiership points.

ANZAC Round immediately follows, with the 2022 Toyota AFL Grand Final Rematch between reigning Premiers Geelong Cats and the Sydney Swans to feature, along with the now traditional ANZAC Eve match (Melbourne v Richmond) and ANZAC Day (Collingwood v Essendon). GWS Giants also play a traditional match in the nation’s capital, Canberra.

Round Seven features the Sydney vs GWS Giants match up for the first time in 2023, and the annual ‘country’ game returns to the MCG between Essendon and Geelong Cats.

Round Nine will feature a Friday Night double header in a bid to maximise crowds, as Mother’s Day falls on the Sunday. It could potentially be Lance Franklin 350th at SCG vs. Fremantle (pending Franklin plays every game up until this point).

Sir Doug Nicholls Round will once again be played across two Rounds (10 & 11) and includes marquee games in Sydney, Darwin, Adelaide, and the annual Dreamtime at the ‘G event. 

Queensland rivals Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast SUNS match up at the Gabba for the first in the season in Round 10.

The traditional Marngrook game between Sydney and Carlton opens Round 11 on a Friday night at the SCG.

Brad Scott’s Bombers meet North Melbourne for the first time in Round 12, and there is a double dose at the MCG with the King’s Birthday Eve match between traditional rivals Carlton vs Essendon and then the Big Freeze a the ‘G for the King’s Birthday between Melbourne vs Collingwood.

The AFL continues to hold three games in the Northern Territory through a long-term partnership with the NT Government.  In Season 2023, the Gold Coast Suns will play the Western Bulldogs and Adelaide Crows at TIO Stadium, Darwin over two weeks, while Melbourne will play GWS Giants in Alice Springs, for the ‘Heart of the Nation’ match.

The 2023 fixture will see the bye rounds will be spread across the four weekends in June – Round 12 to 15 (each team will still have only one BYE).

This has been enabled by the inclusion of the additional round (Round 5) and by spreading the BYE rounds means there are at least two games of football on every Saturday and Sunday across this period, where previously during the three BYE weeks there was only a single game on some days. It also assists with reducing the number of 5 day breaks required leading into Thursday night match ups.

AFL EGM Clubs, Broadcast and Fixturing Travis Auld said while 2023 Toyota AFL Premiership Season fixture looks somewhat different with an additional round, the focus at the start of the season to generate momentum doesn’t change, with plenty of big match ups around the country.   

“We are really pleased to be able to deliver a fixture that balances great broadcast slots and great access for fans,” Mr Auld said

“Momentum early is key, and the fixture has been designed in a way to spread the marquee showpiece Thursday and Friday Nights timeslots across all of the key states including games at the MCG, Marvel Stadium, SCG, The Gabba, Adelaide Oval and Optus Stadium.

“Thursday night blockbusters remain a priority for us, both from a broadcast and crowd-build perspective. We feel we have the right balance, having five in the first five rounds, a break then Thursdays come back into play across Rounds 13 through 15.

The Sunday afternoon 3:20pm timeslot worked really well last season - big match ups, big crowds and some of the best games of the season - we are hoping that continues in 2023.”

Mr Auld acknowledged some of the great events across the first 15 rounds of the home and away season.

“Gather Round in South Australia will be a big occasion, nine matches, four days, three venues and all 18 clubs descending on South Australia for a round of footy like never before.

“Our clubs and industry do such a great job at celebrating Sir Doug Nicholls Round, and to take marquee games to Sydney, Darwin, Adelaide, and the annual Dreamtime at the ‘G event is a testament to all the work the clubs do in celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and contribution to football.”  

Mr Auld said today’s release delivers on the commitment to gives fans more certainty heading into season 2023.

“We committed this year to gives fans and the public as much certainty as possible for the fixture and delivering the first 15 rounds straight up hopefully provides that.

“We will confirm the dates and times for the Rounds 16 – 23 around four to six weeks out, and Round 24, the final round of the home and away season will remain floating.”

Mr Auld thanked all the industry stakeholders for their contribution to the fixture.

“We are really excited about the season ahead with a strong fixture on paper and on behalf of the AFL I would like to thank our clubs, our venues, our broadcaster partners SEVEN, FOXTEL and KAYO and our fixturing team led by Josh Bowler.

“Like everyone we are already looking forward to opening night at the MCG on March 16 next year.”

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Full fixture online