With the rescheduling of the Collingwood vs Brisbane game, this weekend will be the first time since Round 3 of 2006 (Which was also an Easter long weekend) that Docklands Stadium has hosted 4 games in one weekend.
Docklands also hosted 4 games in Round 1 of 2014, although that was a split round.
Collingwood vs Brisbane Lions at Marvel Stadium, Thursday 7:20pm AEDT
To play the role of Sandra Sully with the late news, the Pies and Lions were due to play this game at The Gabba, with the Marvel Stadium encounter in Round 22, only for it to be swapped around, making this only the third time the clubs have played at Docklands, alongside Round 8 of 2002 and Round 21 of 2018.
Collingwood won both games, with the 2002 win also serving as their first win against the merged Lions after 7 attempts, and it would be their only meeting before that year’s Grand Final.
This is the second time this year that a Brisbane vs Collingwood game has been rescheduled due to COVID cases in Queensland – Their Round 7 AFLW meeting had to be rescheduled from Hickey Park in Brisbane to behind closed doors at the Whitten Oval after a worker at the Princess Alexandra Hospital (The very same hospital where this current cluster began) tested positive, although the Lions did win the game by 3 points.
With their win over Collingwood in Round 15 of last season, the Lions will get a shot at winning consecutive games against the Magpies for the first time since 2007-08, with the Pies having won the past 6 encounters prior to 2020.
With the Pies defeating Carlton, the Lions are one of only two clubs to hold a winning record against the Black & Whites, alongside the West Coast Eagles – The Lions dominated the Pies through their first decade following the merger (It was 13-2 after 2005), including the 2002-03 Grand Final wins, but it now sits at a much more even 18-15 in favour of Brisbane.
North Melbourne vs Western Bulldogs, Friday 4:20pm AEDT
The fourth of the Good Friday games involving North Melbourne (A 1-2 record in the three to date), and it features a rematch of the first Good Friday game in league history back in 2017.
The Dogs won that game by 3 points, and in Round 14 that same year, they defeated the Roos by a point.
Adelaide vs Gold Coast at the Adelaide Oval, Friday 7:20pm ACDT
In Round 3 of 2020, the Suns defeated the Crows by 53 points, recording their first win against Adelaide after 14 attempts, and finally achieving the full set of defeating the other 17 teams in the league.
The Suns have only won once in South Australia in their history, which just happened to be their rather memorable first win in the AFL against Port Adelaide in Round 5 of 2011, after coming back from 40 points down to win by 3 points.
Taylor Walker and Shane McAdam kicked a combined 10.5 for Adelaide last Saturday afternoon at the SCG – The other Crows players combined for 1.14 (Ben Keays the only other goalscorer), with 3 rushed behinds in a rather putrid score of 11.22.
This is only the second time the Suns have played a game on Friday night, after they played Carlton in Round 13 of last season.
Richmond vs Sydney Swans at the MCG, Saturday 1:45pm AEDT
The Tigers-Swans game in Round 6 of last year, played in steady rain at The Gabba and filled with injuries and defensive tactics, ended with the lowest combined score (60 points) of any AFL game in the 21st Century, and the second-lowest combined score in the AFL era, behind the Brisbane Bears vs Footscray game in Round 16 of 1996, which the Bears won 36-22 at the Whitten Oval.
The Tigers’ winning score of 4.10-34 equalled the club record for the lowest winning score in their history, and Sydney’s score of 3.8-26 was their lowest since Collingwood held them to 23 points in Round 13 of 1988.
The tape of that game was promptly burned in a pagan ceremony.
The last time they played in Melbourne however, was Easter Saturday 2019, when the Dustin Martin-led Tigers won by 22 points, on a night where Lance Franklin moved past Matthew Lloyd on 927 goals to take outright 7th on the all-time goalkicking table, the spot he’s held ever since.
The Swans have started 2-0 for the first time since 2016, and with Braeden Campbell being nominated as the Round 2 Rising Star, the 2021 Swans are the first team ever to earn the Round 1 and 2 Rising Star nominations.
Essendon vs St Kilda at Marvel Stadium, Saturday 4:35pm AEDT
Owing to the pandemic and the relocation out of Victoria, last year’s game at the Gabba was the first time St Kilda and Essendon, two Docklands tenants, hadn’t played each other at Docklands since Round 15 of 2006, when the Bombers hosted the Saints at the MCG (The Docklands game that Saturday was North Melbourne hosting Brisbane).
Here’s another random fact about that 2006 game – St Kilda won by 3 points to give Essendon their 14th consecutive defeat, but the 3-2-1 votes in the Brownlow Medal all went to Bombers players.
Brent Stanton received 3 votes, Jason Johnson got 2, and Andrew Lovett 1 vote.
West Coast Eagles vs Port Adelaide at Optus Stadium, Saturday 5:10pm AWST
Port Adelaide have now spent 20 consecutive rounds on top of the ladder, the longest streak by any team since Fremantle were on top for 20 rounds between Round 4 and Round 23 of 2015.
In addition to their 48-point win last season at Carrara, the Power defeated the Eagles by 7 goals the last time they played them in Perth (Good Friday 2019, which was Round 5), with the 42 point result remaining the Eagles’ largest defeat at Optus Stadium from their 36 games at the ground (Their overall record is 29-7).
Carlton vs Fremantle at Marvel Stadium, Sunday 3:20pm AEST
In another case of strange scheduling, this is only the second time since 2013 that the Blues and Dockers have played each other in Melbourne – The only other time was Round 13 of 2018, when Freo won by 57 points after kicking 12 goals to none in the 1st Half.
Since then, both clubs have changed coaches.
On another note, Carlton’s last 3 wins against Fremantle have all been 4-point wins in Perth:
Round 5 2016, their first win under Brendan Bolton.
Round 12, 2019, when Marc Murphy snapped the goal in the final minute:
And Round 13 2020, now remembered forever as Jack Newnes after the siren.
For Freo, last Sunday David Mundy entered the Numerology Hall Of Fame – At the age of 35, he recorded 35 disposals, and the Dockers won by 35 points.
And, as a result of the bump from Giant Sam Reid, Dockers captain Nat Fyfe, who played in his 100th win for Fremantle on Saturday, gained a piece of unwanted history:
GWS Giants vs Melbourne at Manuka Oval, Sunday, 6:10pm AEST
This is the first AFL game in Canberra since Round 21 of 2019, when the Giants played Hawthorn on a Friday night that made history as the first AFL game to be played in snowfall!
That was also the 50th game at Manuka Oval, so it was a strange milestone indeed.
The Giants have started the season 0-2 for the first time since 2013, when they lost their first 17 games in their second season in the league, and Kevin Sheedy was still their coach.
The Demons started 2-0 for only the 5th time in 30 years; 1994, 2002, 2005, 2017 were the other instances.
Geelong vs Hawthorn at the MCG, Monday 3:20pm AEST
This is the 11th edition of the Cats-Hawks Easter Monday game, with Geelong winning 8 times and the Hawks 2, and 4 of the 10 games have been decided by fewer than 10 points, with Geelong winning 3 of them, and the Hawks’ solitary win being the 1-point thriller of 2018.
Given this is his first game against the Hawks since signing with Geelong as a free agent following 210 games in Brown & Gold, Isaac Smith is one of a select few players to actually play for both Geelong and Hawthorn in the last 25 years, owing to the often fierce rivalry between the teams.
Sam Menegola was on Hawthorn’s list but never played an AFL game before Geelong picked him up, but some recent examples this century are Aaron Lord, who played 57 games for Geelong (1994-96 & 2003) and 93 games for Hawthorn (1997-01) after being traded for Tim Hargreaves at the end of 1996, and another was Jonathan Simpkin, who played 4 games for the Cats in 2012, then signed with the Hawks as a delisted free agent for 2013, and wound up playing in the successful 2013 Grand Final as a substitute.
And, to dangle the carrot on a stick for Round 5, thanks to the eventful 1-point win against the Lions last weekend, the Cats have now won a grand total of 699 games in Geelong in their time in the VFL/AFL.
They’ve won 458 times at Kardinia Park from 683 games (458-5-220), and they won 241 times at the old Corio Oval from 371 games (241-6-124) between 1897 and 1940.
Here’s a random story – After the Army needed Corio Oval as a training camp, the Cats had to relocate to Kardinia Park for 1941, before they went into recess for 2 seasons because of wartime restrictions on travel and the loss of players to active service, and by the time the club returned to the VFL in 1944, they decided to stay at Kardinia Park, where they’ve been ever since.