The Western Bulldogs’ early season form has them set to meet defending premiers Richmond in a Friday night blockbuster at the MCG in round seven.
The Bulldogs are unbeaten after three rounds for the first time since 2009 and are considered top-four aspirants, while the Tigers remain premiership contenders despite their loss to Sydney in round three.
The Bulldogs and Tigers are set to face off on the Friday night of round seven.Credit:Getty Images
Richmond’s golden era, during which they have won three of the past four flags, began the year after the Bulldogs broke a 62-year premiership drought in 2016.
Industry sources indicated the Tigers were likely to play host to the Bulldogs in what would be Richmond’s first Friday night match in Melbourne since the 2019 preliminary final against Geelong.
The AFL is hoping to have rounds seven and eight locked in before the end of this week after holding off on the announcement when a COVID-19 outbreak occurred in Queensland on the eve of round two, forcing Brisbane to play their Easter Thursday clash against Collingwood in Melbourne.
The newfound flexibility allows the AFL to place the best match-ups in the best timeslots depending on performance with Essendon v Carlton at the MCG and Sydney v Geelong at the SCG shaping up as exciting round-seven contests after their respective winning performances in round three.
Essendon and Carlton have met in the Saturday afternoon slot more often than not in the past decade, although with Anzac Day falling on a Sunday this year and the Bombers playing Collingwood in that traditional fixture, they would only get a six-day break heading into their match against the Blues if it were to be fixtured on a Saturday.
Brisbane host Port Adelaide in a crucial match with the two teams playing Saturday evenings at the Gabba over the past four seasons while the western derby works on either Saturday night or Sunday at Optus Stadium.
Richmond and Geelong will meet in a 2020 grand final rematch at the MCG, with the game appearing suited to Friday night football as the most obvious highlight of the round.
Also in that round, Melbourne play Sydney at the MCG and the Showdown will occur, too. Adelaide, wooden spooners in 2020, will potentially be sitting high on the ladder going into round eight, with winnable matches against North Melbourne, Fremantle, Hawthorn and the Giants in the next four rounds.
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