AFL announce Round 23 fixture

The AFL today announced it had finalised the fixture for round 23 of the 2017 Toyota AFL Premiership season, which had been left as a floating round when the fixture was announced late last year.

The schedule of games will be as follows:

Friday August 25

Hawthorn v Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium, 7.50pm AEST (Channel 7)

Saturday August 26

Collingwood v Melbourne at the MCG, 1.45pm AEST (Foxtel / Fox Sports)

Brisbane Lions v North Melbourne at the Gabba, 2.10pm AEST (Foxtel / Fox Sports)

Sydney Swans v Carlton at the SCG, 4.35pm AEST (Foxtel / Fox Sports)

Geelong Cats v GWS Giants at Simonds Stadium, 7.25pm AEST (Channel 7)

Port Adelaide v Gold Coast Suns at Adelaide Oval, 7.10pm ACST / 7.40pm AEST (Foxtel / Fox Sports)

Sunday August 27

Essendon v Fremantle at Etihad Stadium, 1.10pm AEST (Foxtel / Fox Sports)

Richmond v St Kilda at the MCG, 3.20pm AEST (Channel 7)

West Coast Eagles v Adelaide Crows at Domain Stadium, 2.40pm AWST / 4.40pm AEST (Foxtel / Fox Sports)

AFL General Manager Clubs Travis Auld said the AFL had sought to fixture the final round both to maximise the potential attendance at each game, as well as providing the best possible schedule for the AFL’s broadcast partners – the Seven Network, Foxtel / Fox Sports and Telstra.

The Hawthorn v Western Bulldogs match was scheduled for Friday night as this could be the final game in a decorated career for triple-premiership captain and dual Norm Smith Medallist Luke Hodge, if the Hawks are unable to qualify for the finals.

Mr Auld said the Geelong Cats v GWS Giants match was the other consideration to be played on Friday night, involving two current top-four sides, but was scheduled for the key Saturday night timeslot with the view there would be a stronger attendance for Saturday night, compared to Friday night.

The matches for the Brisbane Lions v North Melbourne, Sydney Swans v Carlton and Port Adelaide v Gold Coast Suns were respectively scheduled across Saturday day/twilight/night slots where each club has been able to draw strongly in their home market.

Collingwood will play Melbourne at the MCG in a Saturday afternoon game while Richmond will host St Kilda at the MCG on Sunday afternoon, in a game which will determine where the Tigers finish within the top eight and could also be the last game for St Kilda champion Nick Riewoldt, if the Saints are unable to qualify for the finals.

All three matches on Sunday have the potential to affect the finals’ order with Essendon playing Fremantle at Etihad Stadium in the early match, before the final match of the round from Perth.

West Coast will host the Adelaide Crows on Sunday in the last AFL match to be played at Domain Stadium, meaning it is possible the final ladder positions won’t be known until the end of the round, with West Coast still chasing a finals spot and the Adelaide Crows aiming to win the minor premiership.

Mr Auld said the AFL was hopeful, with four rounds remaining in the season, that the AFL could yet eclipse the all-time season attendance record of 6,525,071 established in 2011 (a 17-team competition that season). After round 19, AFL attendances stand at 5,491,840.

All matches in the round were placed to complete the normal AFL round schedule of one Friday game, two Saturday afternoon games, one Saturday twilight game, two Saturday evening games, one Sunday early game, one Sunday afternoon game and one Sunday twilight game.

Tickets for Round 23 matches will be on on-sale as follows:

Hawthorn v Western Bulldogs – 9am, Wednesday August 9

Collingwood v Melbourne – 9am, Wednesday August 9

Brisbane Lions v North Melbourne – TBC

Sydney Swans v Carlton – TBC

Geelong Cats v GWS GIANTS –  9am, Wednesday August 9

Port Adelaide v Gold Coast SUNS – TBC

Essendon v Fremantle – 9am, Wednesday August 9

Richmond v St Kilda – 9am, Wednesday August 9

West Coast Eagles v Adelaide Crows – TBC