Western Bulldogs will break new ground in season 2017, with the club to host the first AFL game for premiership points at a Victorian regional venue other than Geelong since 1952.
Port Adelaide was on Thursday confirmed as the Bulldogs’ opponents for the round 22 clash on Saturday, August 19 at Eureka Stadium.
An afternoon time-slot has been secured, with the match to kick off from 1.45pm.
The Bulldogs will unfurl their premiership flag at Etihad Stadium before the grand final rematch against Sydney in round two.
Their historic clash against the Power in Ballarat will be in the second-last round of the home and away season, with the AFL deciding to keep the contentious bye round before the finals series for a second year.
The Bulldogs were originally expected to play two home games in Ballarat during 2017, but with construction at Eureka Stadium – including a new 5000-seat grandstand – not expected to be finished until June, just one has been granted.
City of Ballarat chief executive Justine Linley said 11,000 tickets were likely to be available for the Bulldogs-Power encounter.
“We can be sure that we’ll have a great ground in August next year to showcase and I think the challenge we might have is really about being able to meet demand,” Linley said.
“Those 11,000 tickets will be highly sought after so what we’re working on at the moment is not having a high level of disappointment.
“We’ve got to make sure that not only the people who are in the ground get the best experience they can, but the people who might not be able to make it in, that we are providing opportunities and activities for them still associated with that AFL game in and around Ballarat.”
Linley said there is a lot of importance placed on “getting this game right”.
“There’s been a lot of energy and a lot of thought put into the format and how the game will go,” she said.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better choice. To actually have an Adelaide-based team coming through means that visitation will be up.”
Gold Coast will likely be the AFL's most-travelled club next year with a match scheduled in China.
The Suns will be the nominal home team when they take on Port Adelaide at Jiangwan Sports Centre in China in round eight.
The Suns and the Power will have the following weekend off, with the other 16 clubs to get their bye in rounds 11-13.
Gold Coast is also the away team in matches against Melbourne in Alice Springs in round 10 and against the Western Bulldogs in Cairns in round 18.
The Swans are among the big winners of the schedule, with eight Friday night games, including the annual Marn Grook clash against Hawthorn at the SCG.
Greater Western Sydney also gets three games on a Friday night, including a prime-time home clash against the Bulldogs in Canberra in round six.
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