Gold Coast to host Freo ... in Perth
FREMANTLE are set to capitalise on Gold Coast losing their venue to the Commonwealth Games, with the Suns agreeing to play a "home" AFL fixture at the new Perth Stadium.
The Suns will head west in round three to face the Dockers, who have agreed to pay for the rights to the game.
The deal with the Suns means Fremantle will play four of their first six games next season at the highly anticipated 60,000-capacity Perth Stadium.
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They will face Essendon on a Saturday night in round two, the Suns in round three and a yet-to-be confirmed opponent on the Anzac Day weekend. The first derby against West Coast at the new stadium is scheduled for round six.
Gold Coast are unable to play at their Metricon Stadium base until early June because of the Commonwealth Games.
The venue will host track and field events as well as the opening and closing ceremonies and it will likely take some time to afterwards bring the ground back to AFL standard.
Queensland's major events legislation also prohibits the Suns playing at venues in Brisbane, Cairns or Townsville during the first two weeks of April when the Games are hosted on the glitter strip.
Gold Coast will again face Port Adelaide in Shanghai on May 19 and take home games to Brisbane and Cairns during the first half of the season.
"Working with the AFL, we have managed to secure seven home games at Metricon Stadium in the back half of the season," Gold Coast chief Mark Evans said on Friday.
"Like many Gold Coast businesses, we have and will continue to benefit from the Games now and into the future.
"However the staging of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games will impact the club financially, operationally and geographically.
"In order to offset these impacts to the football club, we have entered into a number of strategic partnerships to recoup revenues."
The Eagles will get first crack at the new ground, hosting Sydney in a Sunday twilight clash in round one.
The full season draw will be announced on Tuesday.