New Lion Grant Birchall expected to face former side Hawthorn in round one

Birchall is just two games away from the 250-match milestone.

The MCG date looms as an important experience at the venue for Brisbane, who played just two matches at the ground this season in a year in which the Lions soared up the ladder, finishing second at the end of the home-and-away season before being knocked out of the finals in straight sets.


Collingwood, meanwhile, will play the Western Bulldogs on Friday night at Marvel Stadium in the opening round, while Greater Western Sydney will host Geelong on Saturday, March 21 in the first AFL/AFLW double-header.

In other Saturday games in the opening round, Essendon will host Fremantle, Adelaide will host Sydney, and Gold Coast will be at home to Port Adelaide.

In other Sunday matches, North Melbourne take on St Kilda at Marvel while West Coast will be at home against Melbourne.

The Magpies are also set to take on the Saints in another early-season Friday night meeting, this time at Marvel. It will mark Collingwood’s 10-year premiership anniversary and is St Kilda’s only scheduled Friday night.

The full fixture will be released on Thursday.


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