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The Roar


AFL start time: When does the 2018 AFL season start? First bounce, fixtures, key information

Bachar Houli kicks for the Tigers. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)
21st March, 2018

The AFL is one of Australia’s biggest sporting competitions and the Richmond Tigers will be looking to go back-to-back in 2018. They will play the opening game of the season against the Carlton Blues with the first bounce scheduled for 7:25pm (AEDT) on Thursday, March 22 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Richmond got the better of the Adelaide Crows in convincing fashion during the 2017 premiership decider.

The Crows will play their season opener the following night, away from home against the Essendon Bombers, while Saturday will feature four games in a seven-hour window.

Another three games will be played on Sunday to close out the first round of action, with a late game seeing the West Coast Eagles take on the Syndey Swans in what will be the first men’s season AFL game played at the new 60,000-seat Optus Stadium.

» Full AFL 2018 Fixtures

The season will then continue for the remainder of the 23 rounds, with each team set to play 22 games, receiving one bye each during split rounds in the middle of the season.

The Round 23 fixture times are yet to be announced, with the AFL likely to announce them towards the end of the season.

The finals, played between the top eight teams from the regular season, will begin on Friday, August 31 and last for four weeks, with the grand final set to be played on Saturday, September 29 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The traditional afternoon start time for the season decider has been retained, with the first bounce scheduled for 2:30pm (AEDT).

Broadcast information


You can watch every game of the 2018 AFL season on Fox Sports, with the exception of the grand final.

If you are looking for a free-to-air TV option, then Channel Seven will carry select games each week – normally, Thursday and Friday games, as well as one on Saturday and one on Sunday, depending when your state’s team are playing.

For those looking to stream the season online, you can use Foxtel Now or the Foxtel App for those games being broadcast on Foxtel, or the AFL live pass for every game.

Here at The Roar, we will be providing a live blog and highlights of every game so you won’t miss a moment of the 2018 AFL season.