The AFL fixture has been released and our eyes immediately hunted for the most fascinating match-ups.
Whether it’s the big marquee games, the big rivalries or trade storylines, here are the 10 best matches to look forward to in 2019.
10. Brisbane vs Collingwood – Round 5 (Thursday Night)
A primetime clash at the Gabba featuring the rising Lions is fascinating enough on its own, but when you add in Dayne Beams’ return to Queensland after his shock decision to leave, this becomes a blockbuster.
The Pies and Lions put on a seriously entertaining clash at the Gabba in 2018 as well.
9. Collingwood vs Melbourne – Round 12 (Queen’s Birthday Monday)
We saw what Queen’s Birthday could be in its full glory last year with both Collingwood and Melbourne’s climb up the ladder drawing a massive crowd to the MCG.
Expect another Monday afternoon showcase in front of over 90,000 as both clubs once again promote Neale Daniher’s Big Freeze at the ‘G.
8. West Coast vs Fremantle – Round 4 (Saturday night)
The last time these two teams met, Andrew Gaff threw a punch that ended Andrew Brayshaw’s season.
Gaff chose to remain at the Eagles, Brayshaw will be back, and when you look back at the spite in that game after the incident, this Derby is a must-watch contest.
7. Geelong vs Melbourne – Round 2 (Saturday night)
These two sides met three times last year, with Geelong claiming both regular season encounters thanks to last-second shots at goal.
They met again come September in an Elimination Final where the Dees overcame the Cats and won comfortably.
They’ll meet in Round 2 down at the Cattery in a fourth bout.
6. Hawthorn vs Port Adelaide – Round 10 (Saturday afternoon)
Chad Wingard’s exit from Port Adelaide quickly spiralled as both parties appeared to have a massive falling out.
While Wingard played that aspect down, something went wrong there and when these two teams meet in Round 10, we may need a camera following Wingard from start to finish.
It’s a shame the game isn’t in South Australia.
5. North Melbourne vs Essendon into West Coast versus Port Adelaide (Good Friday)
The AFL made the decision to go with a Good Friday double-header this year, giving Essendon another marquee game in the process.
They’ll face North Melbourne at 4:20pm AEST, with West Coast hosting Port Adelaide at 8:10pm AEST.
The jury is still out on whether the Good Friday slot is viable, but the AFL is clearly going all-in on the concept.
4. Collingwood vs West Coast – Round 3 (Saturday night)
The Grand Final re-match will take place on a Saturday night in round three at the MCG.
These two teams met twice in last year’s finals series, producing two cracking contests.
Collingwood will be out for revenge, while the Eagles look to take them down once again.
3. Adelaide vs Port Adelaide – Round 8 (Saturday night)
The two Showdowns last year were shunted into Saturday twilight slots, but put on two of the best games of 2018.
In 2019, Showdown 46 will take place on Saturday night, with 47 back on the Saturday twilight slot.
It’s an odd decision, especially with 46 set to be broadcast on Fox. Channel Seven are taking St Kilda versus West Coast.
2. Collingwood vs Richmond – Round 2 (Thursday night)
The Magpies stunned the Tigers in last year’s Preliminary Final, ending their 22 straight wins at the MCG and crushing their Grand Final hopes.
Round two, primetime and a massive MCG crowd will be the battleground for the rematch.
1. Melbourne vs Richmond – Round 6 (Wednesday night) into Collingwood vs Essendon – Round 6 (Thursday night)
There’s no bigger 48 hours on the footy home-and-away season calendar than Anzac Eve into Anzac Day at the MCG.
Melbourne versus Richmond has quickly grown into a marquee slot and with both teams expected to be in the top four hunt again, another 90,000+ crowd is possible – even on a Wednesday night. How both teams deal with the three-day break will be the biggest question.
Anzac Day itself is always the biggest afternoon of the season and both Collingwood and Essendon will continue the tradition on the Thursday.