MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 22: Patrick Cripps of the Blues kicks whilst being tackled by Jack Graham of the Tigers during the round one AFL match between the Richmond Tigers and the Carlton Blues at Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 22, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

The AFL is reportedly weighing up a major change to open the 2022 AFL season, with a Wednesday night grand final rematch flagged as a potential season opener for next year.

Carlton and Richmond have clashed in the opening match of the past seven seasons, and while the showcase rivalry is seen as a strong chance to hold its place on the Thursday night, it could be preceded by a Wednesday night game between 2021 grand finalists Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs.

According to The Ageleague sources have confirmed the grand final rematch is likely to take place in Round 1 next year, whether that be to open the season on a Wednesday or during another prime time slot that week.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 25: (L-R) Angus Brayshaw, Clayton Oliver, Tom Sparrow and Jack Viney of the Demons celebrate during the 2021 Toyota AFL Grand Final match between the Melbourne Demons and the Western Bulldogs at Optus Stadium on September 25, 2021 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

The match would see the Demons unveil their 2021 premiership flag in front of a packed MCG before two of the competition's best clubs go head-to-head to open the new campaign.

Alternatively, the Tigers and Blues could hold their traditional placing to compete in the AFL's season opener on the Thursday night, however that fixture has drawn ongoing criticism in recent years.

Having Carlton and Richmond host the season opener has, and will, produce strong crowd numbers to kickstart the season despite how each side is perceived to perform.

The Blues have lost their past 11 matches against the Tigers, dating back to 2014, however the Princes Park club are touted as a strong premiership threat in 2022.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 18: Sam Walsh of the Blues in action ahead of Shai Bolton of the Tigers during the 2021 AFL Round 01 match between the Richmond Tigers and the Carlton Blues at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 18, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Carlton's first match of next year will also be Michael Voss' debut game as senior coach of the Blues, while recruits Adam Cerra, George Hewett and Lewis Young will be sure to buoy their new club's chances of snapping their extensive losing streak to Richmond.

The AFL are tipped to release the 2022 fixture next week, with ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 virus having caused some delay in their planning.

The AFLW fixture is set to be released at 1pm AEDT on Thursday, just over a month ahead of Round 1.

You can view the entire AFLW fixture with Zero Hanger

1 COMMENT

  1. What…. 2 melbourne teams not getting their freebie “blockbuster” handout?
    No “standalone” tv coverage to help with their membership drive?
    Gee – how will they “justify” the asking price for sponsorship?

    Next thing is Geelong will actually get to play home games at home (just kidding – they will always miss out on a third or so)!

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