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My proposal for Round 1 of the 2015 AFL season

Roar Guru
23rd July, 2014
9
1545 Reads

With the Cricket World Cup not ending until late March next year, the AFL is facing possibly its latest start to a premiership season ever. This may have serious ramifications on how the 2015 fixture is scheduled.

The World Cup final has been scheduled for Sunday, March 29 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, with the following Monday (March 30) being reserved, should rain prevent play on the Sunday.

It means that the ground will be available just in time for the first weekend of April, which also doubles as the Easter long weekend, and it would be the perfect time for the AFL in which to launch the 2015 premiership season.

Thursday, April 2
Carlton and Richmond should reclaim their right to play the ground’s first match of the season in the opening round, which would also double as the first time these two teams have met to open the premiership season since 2011.

This comes after they played their annual match in Round 2 this year, which 62,037 people attended. It was the second-lowest crowd for this fixture since it was developed in 2008, only ahead of the aforementioned 2011 match which attracted a crowd of 60,654.

The AFL decided to start the ongoing 2014 season much earlier in order to combat the National Rugby League traditionally starting their season in the first half of March.

Friday, April 3 (Good Friday)
It has not yet been decided whether Good Friday football will go ahead in 2015, but for the purpose of my first-round proposal, I will leave the religious holiday free of AFL football for now.

Saturday, April 4 (Easter Saturday)
The Sydney Royal Easter Show has been scheduled for March 26 to April 8, thus rendering the GWS Giants’ main home ground, Spotless Stadium, unavailable for at least the first two or three rounds of the season.

It will almost certainly mean that the Giants will have to start their season with an away game, and their annual Round 1 match against the Sydney Swans will have to be moved to a later round, but definitely within the first five rounds.

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In its place, the Giants should travel to the Gold Coast to play the Suns in Round 1 on what is expected to be a sunny Saturday afternoon on the holiday strip, and should be developed as a permanent opening round fixture in future years to come.

As was the case this season, their clash on the holiday strip could be their only meeting for 2015, meaning the Giants will have just one shot at their fellow AFL infants in the regular season.

The Giants playing away in Round 1 means that the Swans can claim the city entirely to themselves in the opening round, and their annual ANZ Stadium blockbuster against Collingwood would be played on the Saturday evening.

Traditionally played midway or close to the end of the season, this year’s fixture (and their only meeting for the season) was scheduled for Round 2, with the Pies winning by 20 points.

With the Easter Show going on at the same time, and the fact that two high-drawing clubs will be involved, the potential is there for a large crowd in excess of about 35,000 to see the two sides go head-to-head.

In the west, the West Coast Eagles would host Adelaide at Patersons Stadium and the only match in Melbourne for that Saturday would see St Kilda take on the Brisbane Lions at Etihad Stadium in the evening.

Sunday, April 5 (Easter Sunday, daylight saving ends on this date)
After having to wait until Round 16 this year to play their first match at their secondary home ground in Hobart, the Kangaroos should play their first regular season match in the Apple Isle in 2015 against Fremantle.

Adelaide Oval would then play host to its first ever opening round fixture with Port Adelaide to play Essendon at the venue in a rematch of their thriller from Round 16 this year, which saw the Bombers sneak home by two points.

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The final match that Sunday would see the Western Bulldogs host Melbourne at Etihad Stadium in the twilight timeslot of 4:45pm.

Monday, April 6 (Easter Monday)
After the first eight matches are played, just one match will be left to wrap up the round: the traditional Easter Monday showdown between bitter rivals the Geelong Cats and Hawthorn.

Again the Cats and Hawks will resume their well-known rivalry to end the AFL’s Easter round, as they have done since 2010. It would also end what should be a blockbuster opening round of the 2015 AFL season.

Thursday, April 2
Carlton versus Richmond, MCG, 7:55pm*

Saturday, April 4 (Easter Saturday)
Gold Coast Suns versus GWS Giants, Metricon Stadium, 12:45pm (1:45pm AEDST)
West Coast Eagles versus Adelaide, Patersons Stadium, 1:45pm (4:45pm AEDST)
Sydney Swans versus Collingwood, ANZ Stadium, 7:45pm*
St Kilda versus Brisbane Lions, Etihad Stadium, 7:45pm

Sunday, April 5 (Easter Sunday, daylight saving ends on this date)
North Melbourne versus Fremantle, Blundstone Arena, 1:15pm
Port Adelaide versus Essendon, Adelaide Oval, 2:55pm (3:25pm AEST)*
Western Bulldogs versus Melbourne, Etihad Stadium, 4:45pm

Monday, April 6 (Easter Monday)
Geelong Cats versus Hawthorn, MCG, 3:25pm*

* – denotes a Channel Seven game

Also please note that five minutes have been added to each of the nine bounce-down times in order to accommodate the national anthem being sung before each match this round.