AFL to unveil 2016 fixture

The AFL will unveil its 2016 fixture on Thursday morning, with several important elements still unclear.

Richmond and Carlton will open the season with their traditional MCG blockbuster on Easter Thursday, March 24.

At the other end of the fixture, the grand final date remains a mystery.

If the AFL sticks to one bye, the grand final will be September 24 – the traditional last Saturday in September.

A second bye would push the premiership decider back to October 1.

Carlton had six Friday night games this season, but they have paid for their terrible form and will have none next year.

The season opener against the Tigers will be the closest they come to the AFL’s most coveted time slot.

St Kilda’s three-year Anzac Day experiment in New Zealand could be over, with the game not going ahead next season.

Crowds had dropped every year in Wellington and the Saints were unable to reach an agreement with Christchurch.

But St Kilda remain hopeful of renewing the deal, possibly in Auckland.

The round-four MCG clash between Essendon and St Kilda will be the AFL’s inaugural country game, where tribute will be paid to Australian farmers.

And indigenous round will be named after Fitzroy’s Sir Doug Nicholls – the only AFL player to be knighted and serve as a state governor.

The centrepiece of the indigenous theme in round 10 from May 27-29 will be the annual Dreamtime At The `G clash between Essendon and Richmond.

The AFL released the NAB Challenge pre-season fixture on Tuesday.

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