The 2021 AFL Fixture is here, with fans scrambling to see whether they’ve gotten off easy or been hard-done by as the relatively unpredictable calendar is announced.
With every season providing winners and losers from the fixture despite a single ball being bounced, we’ve decided to name who has been handed a favourable draw and who has not.
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The Demons face little travel in their opening nine rounds, with their only interstate trips coming against the Giants in Canberra and the Kangaroos in Tasmania.
Across their entire 22 games, Melbourne will play 12 games at the MCG on top of two games at Marvel Stadium, one at Kardinia Park and a home match in Alice Springs in Round 12 against the Lions.
Simon Goodwin’s hopes of breaking into the top eight have been dealt a promising hand, with his side only having to play one finalist from 2020 on two occasions, with the Demons drawing Adelaide, Carlton, GWS Giants, Hawthorn and the Western Bulldogs twice.
The Eagles have dodged the proverbial bullet in not having to face any of the top four sides on multiple occasions, with the Perth giants facing the Western Bulldogs, St Kilda, Collingwood, Fremantle and Adelaide twice.
Following their Round 13 bye, the Eagles will play six of their next nine matches at Optus Stadium, a run that will bode strongly with their push for a top-eight finish.
Greater Western Sydney
The Giants have been blessed with only having to play one top-eight side from the 2020 season twice, unfortunately that one side is the reigning premiers.
While the Tigers will be a tough task twice, GWS will be happy to have the likes of Carlton, Essendon, Melbourne and Sydney as their other double matchups.
The Giants will have a seven game run between rounds 13-19 following their bye where they face bottom 10 sides from last year, coming up against the Kangaroos, Blues, Hawks, Dees, Suns, Swans and Bombers in consecutive rounds.
The Doggies have been handed 16 of their 22 games in Victoria, with two home games in Ballarat, 10 at Marvel Stadium, three at the MCG and one trip down the highway to Kardinia Park.
Their six interstate games will be against both Western Australian clubs, the Giants in Canberra, the Power in Adelaide, the Suns in Queensland and the Hawks in Tasmania.
The Bulldogs won’t leave Victoria until Round 6 and will only have one match outside of the state in their last five.
Despite having nine of their opening 13 fixtures prior to the bye at their beloved Marvel Stadium, the Saints will hand up a number of their home games to several premiership contenders, including 2020 grand finalists Richmond and Geelong.
Not only will the Tigers and Cats head to the Docklands to face the Saints, but the boys in the red, white and black will also have to play arguably the two best sides twice, at both the MCG and GMHBA.
Adding to those headaches, the Saints will also face the Eagles, Power and Swans on two occasions and will have a hard path to prove their premiership worth.
St Kilda showed some improvement in their interstate travels this season and will need to do the same in 2021, with seven trips outside of Victoria.
Unfortunately for Hawks fans, their dream days are fading and so is their prime-time television viewing.
With the times and dates released for the opening six rounds, Hawthorn have been handed a glimpse of what’s to come, playing no Friday games and just one Saturday fixture in their opening half-a-dozen matches.
The Hawks will hold onto their annual Easter Monday clash with Geelong however, a fixture sandwiched between a clash against Richmond and a trip to Perth.
The Blues have been touted to make the top-eight in 2021 and to do so will need to be conquering the sides that finished above them this year.
The Baggers faithful will be hoping to replicate their 2020 efforts away to Fremantle next year, a game that will kick-off a tough July that will consist of matches against Collingwood, Geelong, St Kilda and North Melbourne.
Who your club is playing twice in 2021:
North Melbourne, Hawthorn, Port Adelaide, West Coast, Melbourne
Collingwood, Fremantle, Geelong, Gold Coast, Richmond
Collingwood, Fremantle, Gold Coast, GWS Giants, Port Adelaide
Brisbane Lions, Carlton, Essendon, Port Adelaide, West Coast
Collingwood, GWS Giants, Hawthorn, North Melbourne, Sydney
Brisbane Lions, Carlton, Hawthorn, Sydney, West Coast
Brisbane Lions, Melbourne, North Melbourne, Richmond, St Kilda
Brisbane Lions, Carlton, North Melbourne, Sydney, Western Bulldogs
Carlton, Essendon, Melbourne, Richmond, Sydney
Adelaide, Essendon, Fremantle, Melbourne, Richmond
Adelaide, Carlton, GWS Giants, Hawthorn, Western Bulldogs
Gold Coast, Western Bulldogs, Adelaide, Essendon, Geelong
St Kilda, Collingwood, Western Bulldogs, Carlton and Adelaide
Hawthorn, St Kilda, Geelong, GWS, Brisbane
West Coast, Richmond, Port Adelaide, Geelong, Sydney
Essendon, GWS, Gold Coast, Fremantle, St Kilda
Western Bulldogs, St Kilda, Collingwood, Fremantle, Adelaide