A super Sunday in round 23 will prove critical in determining the final look of the top eight.
The AFL revealed the full fixture for the final weekend of matches on Tuesday evening, with traditional rivals Collingwood and Essendon to do battle on the Friday night stage.
Currently sixth and seventh respectively, both teams are likely to qualify for September action but it remains a contest that could play a major factor in determining the ultimate finishing positions.
The final round of the home-and-away season kicks off with a bang, but it’s the Sunday games that will decide which teams feature in the finals.
In a contest that will have finals ramifications, the Western Bulldogs host Adelaide in Ballarat. As it stands, the eighth-placed Crows are ahead of the Bulldogs on percentage only but Luke Beveridge’s team is in better shape having won four of their past five matches compared to Adelaide who have gotten the job done in just one of their last five outings.
The Bulldogs-Crows clash could also impact upon the importance of Port Adelaide’s encounter with Fremantle at Adelaide Oval later in the day.
The Power and the Dockers – both of which are struggling to produce their best football on a consistent basis – will need other results to go their way in the final month to ensure they remain in contention for a finals berth heading into the twilight clash.
Wedged in between those matches is Richmond’s much-anticipated meeting with this season’s surprise packet in Brisbane at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Currently fourth and third respectively, the Tigers’ bout with the Lions could determine whether one or both sides finish in the top four and subsequently earn the all-important double chance.
While games on Friday and Sunday will be pivotal in shaping the eight, the Saturday matches will play next to no role in defining who plays who come September.
Sydney locks horns with St Kilda at the Sydney Cricket Ground to kick-off Saturday’s action, before North Melbourne takes on Melbourne in Hobart in the other afternoon game for the day.
League-leader Geelong takes on Carlton at GMHBA Stadium in the twilight slot.
A West Coast side in the frame for a top-two finish will host Hawthorn on Saturday night in a contest that will coincide with Gold Coast’s date with Greater Western Sydney at Metricon Stadium.