The Showdown. Collingwood vs Carlton at the MCG. The Sydney Derby. Two of the oldest clubs, Geelong and Melbourne, face off. And to wrap up the weekend, the QClash.

Like this year's Opening Round or Gather Round, footy fans have a heightened sense of anticipation leading into Round 8 as some of the game's traditional rivalries take centre stage, by no fault of lucky fixturing.

The two South Australian sides will finally play in a prime time slot and on national free-to-air television, taking centre stage on Adelaide Oval to kick the weekend off on Thursday.

Barely giving footy fans a moment to breathe, 24 hours later is the highly passionate and fiery clash between the Pies and Blues at the MCG, which has a 127-year rivalry in the history books.

On Saturday, the 'Battle of the Bridge' descends onto the SCG, with recent quips from GWS defender Sam Taylor about the Swans' "smug" and "chirpy" ways certain to get air time.

Next is Geelong and Melbourne - two of the oldest clubs in the competition - battling it out on the MCG as both strive for a top-four spot in 2024.

And to wrap up the weekend is the QClash, with the underwhelming Brisbane Lions desperate for a good performance against younger sibling Gold Coast, themselves quickly on the improve.

As well as these five mouth-watering clashes is a quartet of games that will have ramifications on the season but won't require as much attention.

But that begs the question, how good would it be to have a weekend dedicated to rivalries?

Let's call it 'Rivalry Round'.

In 2010, the AFL scrapped the idea and ever since has stuck in the minds of footy fanatics.

Admittedly, fixturing could be an issue, with questions around which games to broadcast, and the financial value of playing nine highly desirable matches in one weekend may not be viable for the AFL, while ground conditioning and stadium availability might put a strain on the league.

But from a fan's point of view, it would be a wonderful option.

Many have longed for its return despite the idea dissipating into the abyss, along with other great concepts like the coloured substitute vests or the 'golden score' rule to decide tied finals that never quite made it out of the gate.

The AFL is arguably the most marketable competition in the land and has surpassed surrounding codes tenfold.

A weekend dedicated to rivalries will not only create the perception the league is adaptable to its stakeholders' interests but further the agenda of being the sport for everyone in Australia.

The anticipation for Round 8 of the 2024 AFL season has grown to unique heights due to these fixtures, and imagine, with the highly supported condition the game is currently in, what it would look like if nine blockbuster matches were spread across a single weekend.

There may be reasons against it but Rivalry Round must draw breath once again.

Proposed AFL Rivalry Round

Thursday night: Port Adelaide vs Adelaide (Adelaide Oval)

The Showdown has delivered some of the greatest AFL games in history since its first contest in 1997.

Both sides have had their rub of the green and could not be split after 54 outings, with Thursday's clash set to settle the score.

Friday night: Geelong vs Melbourne (MCG)

Two of the oldest clubs in the game.

Saturday afternoon: Essendon vs Hawthorn (MCG)

One of the greatest rivalries of the 1980s, the Bombers and Hawks have an eventful past.

From three consecutive grand finals to the infamous "Line in the Sand" match in 2004 where Essendon champion Matthew Lloyd's bump on Brad Sewell sparked a heated 44-player brawl.

All up, over $100,000 of fines and plenty of missed matches through suspension.

St Kilda vs Richmond (Marvel Stadium)

Not necessarily famous rivals, but the two clubs have faced off nearly 200 times, with Richmond taking home the chocolates more often than not. The Ian Stewart-Billy Barrott trade is a highly contentious memory for some, while more recently, 'Maddie's Match' has been a hugely supported event between two clubs situated across the banks of the Yarra River.

Saturday Twilight: GWS vs Sydney (SCG/Engie Stadium)

26 meetings since 2012, the year the Giants entered the AFL.

Big brother Sydney holds a six-win lead over GWS but has lost all three finals matchups.

Saturday night: Brisbane vs Gold Coast (Gabba/People's First Stadium)

The two Queensland teams face off for the QClash, a promotion created by the league, that represents a real battle for state pride and ascendancy.

Beginning in 2011, 25 QClashes have been marked in the record books, with the Lions holding an 18-7 lead across the journey.

Sunday afternoon: Western Bulldogs vs North Melbourne (Marvel Stadium)

Like the Saints and Tigers, one of the lesser historical rivalry-like fixtures in the proposed schedule slots in seamlessly as geographically-related audiences.

Collingwood vs Carlton (MCG)

Need we say anything?

Traditional Sunday afternoon primetime slot.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 21: Zac Williams of the Blues (L) and Adam Saad of the Blues look dejected as Jordan De Goey of the Magpies and Nick Daicos of the Magpies celebrate on the final siren after winning the round 23 AFL match between the Carlton Blues and the Collingwood Magpies at Melbourne Cricket Ground on August 21, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Sunday night: Fremantle vs West Coast (Optus Stadium)

The Western Derby is set to run into its 30th year, having first played out between the Dockers and Eagles in 1995.

Meeting a total of 58 times since then, West Coast currently holds an overwhelming lead of 33-25.

What do you you think? Would you like to see the AFL bring back its 'Rivalry Round'?


  1. Pretty much a confected brain fart.

    Who is Geelong’s rival?
    Is it another old club like Melbourne (as suggested in the article)?…. or is Melbourne’s rival really the ‘wobbles? (history would possibly suggest the latter).

    Does Brisbane have a rival? It’s grand finals were won against the ‘wobbles…..
    How is there a rivalry between Brisbane and Gold Coast that isn’t a confection?

    Likewise, West Sydney has no “history” against Sydney….

    There are mutual “rivalries” between the “larger” Melbourne clubs but it’s near impossible to gain any specific club v club.

    There is a genuine rivalry – a very real hatred – between Adelaide and the filth (caused by and wrapped up in episodes of betrayal), the same is true for the WA clubs…..

    But that is something completely missing in Melbourne.

    Confected and artificial (gifted marketing and financial tools) such as the “anzac” game and the “dreamtime game” et al are not rivalries – they are attempts to put cash into coffers, meeting “KPI’s” and further compromising a fixture that bears no resemblance to a fair draw, nothing else.

  2. Just an point of contention.

    The line in the sand game, and Lloydy bumping Sewell were two different games.

    Line in the sand game was sparked by a Brereton half time speech about how he disliked Essendon treating the Hawks as whipping boys.

    Lloydy’s bump on Sewell was in the last round of 2009. Sparked an Essendon fightback, which eventuated in Hawks missing out on a spot in the finals after winning the 08 Premiership.

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