AFL Victoria has today released the 2018 Peter Jackson VFL fixture.
The competition will next year feature 15 teams in a 21-round home-and-away season.
As part of changes to the VFL for 2018, Werribee will field a stand-alone side for the first time since 1999 and will be joined in the competition by former aligned club North Melbourne, while Frankston will return to the VFL after a one-year absence.
The opening round will be spread across two weekends, with Geelong and Werribee to begin the season on Easter Sunday in Torquay. The remaining six games of Round 1 will be completed on April 7/8, featuring reigning premier Port Melbourne unfurling its flag in the Grand Final rematch versus Richmond at Fortburn Stadium.
Stand-alone clubs will receive 10 home games in 2018, to further assist with game-day revenue and membership.
“Providing each VFL stand-alone club with an additional home game is another way we can support these clubs, providing them an opportunity to gain more game-day revenue and added exposure for club sponsors,” AFL Victoria CEO Steven Reaper said.
The release of the fixture coincides with the announcement of the Channel 7 broadcast schedule up to Round 12, with all 15 clubs to feature at least once. The broadcast matches will begin in Round 3, after Channel 7’s coverage of the Commonwealth Games, featuring the ANZAC Day clash between Collingwood and Essendon. Matches will again be broadcast on Saturday afternoon at 2pm, with three Sunday broadcast games to be part of the coverage in June.
“Channel 7 plays an integral role in the promotion of the competition and our clubs, and we look forward to their continued coverage in 2018,” Reaper said.
“We have once again ensured all clubs receive TV exposure in the first half of the season, with the remaining broadcast games to be announced once the 2018 season gets underway.”
The VFL and its clubs again featured prominently in the recent NAB AFL Draft and Rookie Draft, with the competition having seven players added to AFL lists for 2018.
“VFL clubs continue to provide opportunities to a host of players wishing to progress to the AFL,” Reaper said.
“The 2017 VFL draft class includes recycled former AFL players, long-term VFL talent, former TAC Cup players, a Next Generation Academy selection and a recruit from local football, proving the various pathways possible for potential AFL draftees in the competition.”
In 2018 all clubs will have three byes and play 18 games each. The VFL finals will begin on September 1 and conclude with the Grand Final on Sunday September 23.
Key features of the 2018 fixture:
- Werribee will return to Avalon Airport Oval in Round 2 after the ground’s $11.75 million facility upgrade, hosting Casey Demons in a night game.
- North Melbourne will play the majority of its home games out of Avalon Airport Oval, and will open their season in Round 2 against the Northern Blues
- Richmond will again venture to Beaconsfield’s Holm Park Recreation Reserve for two games in Round 7 and 15.
- Frankston will make its return to the VFL in Round 1, at home to Essendon.
- The Round 7 Channel 7 game between Coburg and Collingwood will highlight the stand against violence towards women, with the second Vicki Cleary Day to be held in memory of the late sister of Coburg great Phil Cleary.
- New coaches Leigh Adams (Coburg) and Jade Rawlings (Casey Demons) will meet in Round 1. They are two of six new VFL coaches in 2018, joining Dan Jordan (Essendon), Adam Skrobalak (Frankston), David Loader (North Melbourne) and Aaron Hamill (Sandringham).
- A number of AFL curtain-raiser matches have been proposed for 2018 and will be confirmed in the new year.
- There will be five night games across the season, with Footscray hosting two (in Round 5 and 9), and Casey (Round 4), Geelong (Round 19) and Werribee (Round 2) one each.
The Swisse Wellness VFL Women’s fixture is due for release next week.
* CLICK HERE to see the 2018 Peter Jackson VFL fixture.