Richmond Tigers, Carlton Blues to open season, Melbourne Demons want Friday night round one grand final rematch with Western Bulldogs

Carlton and Richmond will again open the men’s season next year, in front of what the AFL hopes will be a near capacity crowd at the MCG.

And in what could be the perfect one-two punch, Melbourne have asked league officials for their rematch with grand final opponents the Western Bulldogs to be played one day later.

The Demons are hoping for the grand final rematch to be played in round one on Friday night next year.Credit:AFL Photos

If the AFL accepts the proposition, the Demons could unfurl their premiership flag in front of their fans – who have been waiting 57 years – at the earliest point of the 2022 season.

Melbourne premiership chief executive Gary Pert has spoken to the AFL, the MCC and host broadcaster Seven and believes he has strong support for the Friday night fixture in round one.

Although the season opener has been one-way traffic for some time (Richmond have won every game since 2013), the AFL sees no reason to change what it believes has been a winning formula in terms of crowd and broadcasting numbers.

The Blues also have arguably the strongest list since their rebuild began and have another new coach in Michael Voss.

The Bulldogs will be out for revenge in their meeting with Melbourne. After a Marcus Bontempelli goal put them 19 points up late in the third quarter of the grand final what followed was extraordinary as Melbourne ran out 74-point winners in a Christian Petracca-led masterclass.

“As much as they enjoyed what went on in Perth, the Demons supporters feel like they missed out on the experience,” Pert told The Age.

“That’s why I called the AFL straight after the grand final to say: ‘let’s look at creating a grand final replay at the MCG [in the] first round.’ Channel Seven is really open to it, the MCC is keen.

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