AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan has officially announced the fixture has been extended to 23 rounds, with the league’s version of ‘Magic Round’ to take place in South Australia.
The event – which will see all nine games played in South Australia – will take place in Round 5, between Thursday April 13 and Sunday April 16, with tickets free for all applicable club members.
Double headers are expected to take place at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday, Friday and Sunday, while the remaining three games will take place in suburban or regional venues.
The Herald Sun reports Barossa Valley is set to stage one match and Norwood believed to be another venue.
Watch every match of the AFLW Season LIVE on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
Lions will not fear GF venue drama | 00:44
Tickets for the round are set to go on sale after the release of the AFL fixture.
It was labelled a “legacy event” by McLachlan, who hails from South Australia.
“Over the pandemic years, South Australia played a huge role in the survival of our game, so we’re pleased to be able to bring what I think is going to be a legacy event for our code to start here in Adelaide and South Australia,” McLachlan said.
It means 2023 will be the first 23-game AFL season, almost certainly running across 24 rounds (including a bye).
The VFL-AFL season has run for 22 games since 1970, when the season grew to allow a full home and away round-robin to be held among the 12 clubs.
When the competition expanded to 14 teams with the additions of Brisbane and West Coast in 1987, the season remained at 22 games despite a double round-robin no longer being achievable.
Future expansion saw the number of rounds increase at times, seeing 24-round seasons held including bye weeks, as most recently in 2011.
Since 2012, with the introduction of GWS as the 18th club, there have been 23 rounds and 22 games (with the shortened 18-round 2020 Covid season excepted).
McLachlan flagged moving the concept around the country in future years.
“We are looking forward to not only bringing nine great matches for premiership points to South Australia, but also a party-like atmosphere, filled with fan activations, family-friendly events, music, entertainment, community engagement, all designed to bring the city to life over the four days,” Mr McLachlan said.