The road to the 2020 AFL finals series has become clear after the league confirmed the fixture for the remaining rounds.
While the exact dates and times of the final round 18 are yet to be confirmed, rounds 14-17 have been locked in completely — and some teams will be feeling a lot better about it than others.
If you want to fast forward to the full fixture list to see who your team will be playing the last few rounds, you can do so here.
Otherwise, see who has come out cheering and who will be bracing themselves for a tough month below.
The Lions have a sensational record at the Gabba of late — bar a couple of finals which we won’t talk about here — and as such will be delighted to see they have at least three more games at home before finals.
In fact, Brisbane will almost certainly not have to leave Queensland for the rest of the home and away season and, should a few decisions go their way at AFL HQ, could be enjoying home comforts in the finals as well.
A round-14 bye also means the Lions have the luxury of a 14-day break before a crunch clash with Collingwood, which will come in handy as the games come admittedly more regularly after that.
But given a trip to Cairns to play Sydney could be as far as the Lions will be trekking for the rest of this season, they will be feeling quietly confident of turning a good season into a great one.
Loser: West Coast
While the Eagles have been racking up the wins and the acclaim at home, coach Adam Simpson has always been quick to warn that the other fixturing shoe was going to drop at some stage. He wasn’t joking.
After their final home game in round 13 against GWS, the Eagles have just four days to up and move back to the Gold Coast for a Thursday-night game against Richmond.
Then there’s Essendon off a five-day break, the Bulldogs off a five-day break and St Kilda off another four-day break. That’s five games in 18 days for West Coast, a significant test after a comfortable stretch at home.
There’s a chance then that the Giants game will be the last the Eagles play in WA for the season, depending on how finals are to be scheduled and where the grand final is sent.
All of the Eagles’ Queensland games are night matches too, something that will become a factor if they struggle to handle the slippery conditions as they did in their first stint. In short, if the Eagles are to go all the way this year, they certainly will have earned it.
Winner: Port Adelaide
While Port will have to make, in all likelihood, two trips to Queensland between now and finals, they will be pleased to see a couple more shiny Adelaide Oval matches on that fixture list.
More importantly, the Power will have decent breaks between all of their games from here on out, operating on basically a normal schedule.
They will go Friday-Saturday-Saturday-Saturday-Saturday up until the end of round 17 thanks to a timely round-15 bye. The fact that three of those games come against Hawthorn, Sydney and North Melbourne — all highly unlikely to be in genuine finals contention at that point — doesn’t hurt either.
The road is clear for the ladder leaders, who will be expecting home finals are on the cards too. They can plot their path to a premiership from here.
For a team right on the cusp of making or missing finals, a bit of help from this last lot of fixtures could have made all the difference. Unfortunately for the Bombers, they’re going to have to do it the hard way.
Set up in Queensland, they’ll head to Darwin for the Dreamtime match against Richmond, race to Adelaide to play Hawthorn five days later and then scurry back to the Gabba to play West Coast five days after that. Then they’ll try to freshen up for Geelong five days later, before heading back to Adelaide to play Port on a comparably luxurious six-day break.
That’s a tricky old run for the best of teams. A combination of more travel than most, relatively little time between games and the calibre of opposition they will face could put the Bombers in strife before they even get to their rescheduled game against Melbourne in round 18.
This is not a clear win for the Tigers, because there is a tight little turnaround at the top of Footymania 2.0 as they head to Darwin on a five-day break, return to play West Coast on the Gold Coast on another five-day break and then take on Freo after yet another five-day break.
But after that, it’s smooth sailing thanks to a beautifully timed nine-day break just a couple of weeks out from finals, at which point the Tigers can refresh and launch at a third flag in four years.
Richmond should be nice and familiar with Carrara Stadium by the end of the home and away season, and their round-18 tune up will come against the Crows in Adelaide, offering the possibility of resting a few key players if needed.
Full round 14-18 fixture
- Thursday, August 27: Hawthorn v Essendon, Adelaide Oval 4.10pm ACST
- Richmond v West Coast, Carrara Stadium, 7.10pm AEST
- Friday, August 28: Western Bulldogs v Geelong, Carrara Stadium, 7.50pm AEST
- Saturday, August 29: Port Adelaide v Sydney, Adelaide Oval, 1.15pm ACST
- Fremantle v Greater Western Sydney, Optus Stadium, 4.35pm AEST, 2.35pm AWST
- Melbourne v St Kilda, Traeger Park, 7.40pm AEST, 7.10pm ACST
- Sunday, August 30: Carlton v Collingwood, The Gabba, 3.35pm AEST
- Gold Coast v North Melbourne, Carrara Stadium, 6.10pm AEST
- Tuesday, September 1: Hawthorn v Adelaide, Adelaide Oval, 5.10pm ACST
- West Coast v Essendon, The Gabba, 8.10pm AEST
- Wednesday, September 2: Richmond v Fremantle, Carrara Stadium, 7.10pm AEST
- Thursday, September 3: Sydney v Melbourne, Cazalys Stadium, 4.40pm AEST
- Greater Western Sydney v Carlton, Carrara Stadium, 7.10pm AEST
- Friday, September 4: Brisbane v Collingwood, The Gabba, 7.50pm AEST
- Saturday, September 5: North Melbourne v Port Adelaide, Carrara Stadium, 7.40pm AEST
- Sunday, September 6: St Kilda v Hawthorn, Carrara Stadium, 1.05pm AEST
- Geelong v Essendon, The Gabba, 3.35pm AEST
- Western Bulldogs v West Coast, Carrara Stadium, 6.10pm AEST
- Monday, September 7: Melbourne v Fremantle, Cazalys Stadium, 7.10pm AEST
- Tuesday, September 8: Adelaide v Greater Western Sydney, Adelaide Oval, 5.10pm ACST
- Carlton v Sydney, Carrara Stadium, 8.10pm AEST
- Wednesday, September 9: Brisbane v Gold Coast, The Gabba, 7.10pm AEST
- Thursday, September 10: St Kilda v West Coast, The Gabba, 7.10pm AEST
- Friday, September 11: Geelong v Richmond, Carrara Stadium, 7.50pm AEST
- Saturday, September 12: North Melbourne v Fremantle, Carrara Stadium, 1.45pm AEST
- Port Adelaide v Essendon, Adelaide Oval, 4.35pm AEST, 4.05pm ACST
- Greater Western Sydney v Melbourne, The Gabba, 7.40pm AEST
- Sunday, September 13: Carlton v Adelaide, Carrara Stadium, 1.05pm AEST
- Hawthorn v Western Bulldogs, Adelaide Oval, 3.35pm AEST, 3.05pm ACST
- Sydney v Brisbane, Cazalys Stadium, 6.10pm AEST
- Monday, September 14: Collingwood v Gold Coast, The Gabba, 7.10pm AEST
Round 18 (all venues, times TBC)
- Adelaide v Richmond
- Brisbane v Carlton
- Collingwood v Port Adelaide
- Essendon v Melbourne
- Fremantle v Western Bulldogs
- Hawthorn v Gold Coast
- North Melbourne v West Coast
- St Kilda v Greater Western Sydney
- Sydney v Geelong