Collingwood's Steele Sidebottom looks to clear as Geelong's Gary Ablett tackles. Pic: Michael Klein
Collingwood's Steele Sidebottom looks to clear as Geelong's Gary Ablett tackles. Pic: Michael Klein

Shiel v GWS in mouth-watering Rnd 1 clash

DYLAN Shiel will come face-to-face with his old GWS teammates in the opening round of the 2019 season after Essendon was drawn to face the Giants at Spotless Stadium.

Shiel found himself at the centre of tense negotiations between the Bombers and Giants on trade deadline day before his wish to join the Dons was granted in the final moments of the exchange period.

The midfielder will make his red and black debut against a very different GWS side on Sunday, March 24, with Tom Scully, Rory Lobb and Will Setterfield all poised to play for new clubs on opening weekend.

Carlton has retained a foothold in the season-opener and will again face rival Richmond, on Thursday night, March 21.

Shiel will come face-to-face with his old GWS teammates in the opening round of the 2019 season
Shiel will come face-to-face with his old GWS teammates in the opening round of the 2019 season

The MCG showdown will showcase star forward Tom Lynch's first game for the Tigers, while former Crow Mitch McGovern will line up at the other end in his first game for the Blues.

The blockbuster theme continues the next night when Collingwood confronts Geelong at the same venue.

In what could be one of the most decorated midfield battles of all-time, Dayne Beams will join Scott Pendlebury, Adam Treloar, Steele Sidebottom and Taylor Adams in an engine room tug of war against Patrick Dangerfield, Gary Ablett, Joel Selwood, Mitch Duncan and the retained Tim Kelly.

It's a match-up set to boast a combined three Brownlows, 21 best-and-fairests and 27 All-Australian gongs.

The Carlton-Richmond and Collingwood-Geelong matches will draw more than 160,000 fans to the MCG in the first two nights of the season.

Steven May's first game for Melbourne comes against Port Adelaide at the MCG on a Saturday afternoon that will also see Max Gawn go head-to-head with former Eagle and Power debutant Scott Lycett.

Chad Wingard will be going back to Adelaide straight away with Hawthorn later the same day, but the bad blood that marred his exit from Port Adelaide won't be revisited, with the Hawks playing the Crows.

The Western Bulldogs host Sydney at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night, while Lachie Neale's Brisbane debut is a tough one - premier West Coast at the Gabba.

On the Sunday, St Kilda fans will get their first look at Dan Hannebery in a home-and-away match when the Saints play Gold Coast at Marvel Stadium.

The opening round will be closed by a swag of players in new colours. Jesse Hogan and Rory Lobb will look to kick Fremantle a winning score at Optus Stadium against a North Melbourne side boasting new quartet Jared Polec, Aaron Hall, Dom Tyson and Jasper Pittard.

The fixture list will be officially released on Wednesday.

ROUND 1, 2019

Thursday, March 21

Carlton v Richmond, MCG 7.20pm

Friday, March 22

Collingwood v Geelong, MCG 7.50pm

Saturday, March 23

Melbourne v Port Adelaide, MCG 1.45pm

Adelaide v Hawthorn, Adelaide Oval 4.35pm

Western Bulldogs v Sydney, Marvel Stadium 7.25pm

Brisbane Lions v West Coast, Gabba 8.20pm

Sunday, March 24

St Kilda v Gold Coast, Marvel Stadium 1.10pm

GWS Giants v Essendon, Spotless Stadium 3.20pm

Fremantle v North Melbourne, Perth Stadium 6.20pm



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