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The AFL fixtures schedule is a complicated one with not all teams facing each other twice in a season. Instead, clubs play 22 games across 23 weekends against the other 17 teams.

How does the AFL fixture scheduling work?

The AFL home and away season is played over 23 rounds and usually kicks off in late March, while the last of the regular season games are played out around the end of August. 

Each of the 18 teams in the competition play 22 matches during the year, while they will enjoy a week off due to the 'bye'. In recent years, the bye for all clubs has been scheduled over a three-week period in the middle of the year. 

How many times does each side play each other?

The 22-game season allows for each side to play each other at least once, with five return games against selected clubs. The AFL determines which sides play each other twice and is based on finishing positions of the sides on the ladder at the end of the previous year. 

When are the games played?

Each weekend there are nine matches played, except for the 'bye' rounds when there are usually six games. The action kicks off on either a Thursday or Friday night and games are spread over the weekend until late Sunday afternoon. 

Where are the games played?

The games are played at venues all around Australia including the MCG and Etihad Stadium in Melbourne as well as other famous Australian venues including the SCG in Sydney, the GABBA in Brisbane, the Adelaide Oval in Adelaide and Domain Stadium in Perth. 

The AFL roadshow will also take in venues from all parts. In recent years, places such as Darwin, Alice Springs, Cairns, Canberra, Hobart and Launceston have hosted a number of AFL matches. 

How many sides make the finals and how do they qualify for a Grand Final?

The highest-ranked eight teams at the end of the home and away season participate in a four-week finals series. Two sides are eliminated in each of the first three weeks with the remaining two sides to face off in the AFL Grand Final. The winning team in the Grand Final is then awarded the AFL Premiership. 

The final eight system is designed to give the top four teams an easier path to the Grand Final than those lower in the top eight, while the top two sides tend to enjoy a home ground advantage early on in the finals series. The current system began in the year 2000.