FOR THE first time in AFL history, the Toyota AFL Premiership season will begin with an 'Opening Round', with four matches set to feature in Queensland and New South Wales to kick off the action in 2024.
Beginning on Thursday, March 7, the four games for premiership points in the Opening Round will be played the week before a traditional round one. 'Opening Round' will get under way on Thursday night when Sydney hosts Melbourne at the SCG, before heading north to the Gabba on Friday night, March 8, for a re-match of the 2023 preliminary final between Brisbane and Carlton.
Gold Coast and its new coach, Damien Hardwick, will host Richmond at Heritage Bank Stadium on Saturday afternoon, March 10, ahead of another preliminary final re-match between Greater Western Sydney and reigning premiers Collingwood at GIANTS Stadium on Saturday night.
The eight teams that play in the Opening Round will then have a bye between rounds two and six, with all 18 teams in the competition having played the same number of games by the beginning of round seven.
2024 Opening Round
Thursday, March 7
Sydney v Melbourne, SCG, 7.30pm AEDT
Friday, March 8
Brisbane v Carlton, Gabba, 6.40pm AEST (7.40pm AEDT)
Saturday, March 9
Gold Coast v Richmond, Heritage Bank Stadium, 3.20pm AEST (4.20pm AEDT)
Greater Western Sydney v Collingwood, Giants Stadium, 7.30pm AEDT