Western Bulldogs will face two new interstate rivals in fresh-looking AFL home and away fixtures for Ballarat next season.
The Bulldogs will host Brisbane Lions and Adelaide Crows at their home and away from home, Mars Stadium.
Western Bulldogs will take on what is expected to be a vastly improved Brisbane on Saturday, May 11, at 1.45pm and Adelaide in round 23 – the last home and away fixture of the year.
The day and time for the Bulldogs’ and Crows’ clash will not be determined until late in the season.
It will either be on Saturday, August 24, or Sunday, August 25.
Next season will be the first in the three years that the Western Bulldogs have played home and away matches in Ballarat that Port Adelaide has not lined up at Mars Stadium.
The Bulldogs and Power met in an historic first AFL match ever played for premiership points in Ballarat in 2017.
They then played Gold Coast Suns and Port Adelaide this year.
The AFL and Western Bulldogs released details of the Ballarat matches on Tuesday night – ahead of the announcement of the full AFL fixture for 2019.
Western Bulldogs chief executive officer Ameet Bains said the club had worked closely with the AFL during their fixture process to ensure its games at Mars Stadium were scheduled to best maximise the opportunity for Bulldogs fans and the Ballarat community to enjoy the spectacle.
“It’s pleasing that our first game on May 11 has been confirmed in the earlier time slot, and scheduling our second match in the final game of the home and away season will hopefully enhance the opportunity for a large attendance,” he said.
“We are also excited about the opportunity to host a pre-season JLT Community Series match at Mars Stadium in March, which will build excitement for the home and away season.”
The Bulldogs play St Kilda on Sunday, March 10.
Bains said along with the success of playing AFL games in Ballarat over the past few years, the club was proud of the work it had done with our schools, youth leadership, and men’s and women’s health programs in the region, which it was committed to delivering again next year.
“We’re excited to continue our partnership with the City of Ballarat and the State Government by hosting the two AFL premiership season games in Ballarat.”
Bain’s reference to an earlier time slot for the May 11 fixture referred to issues experienced with lighting when the Bulldogs played Port Adelaide in a 3.20pm match in late July this year.
Wet and overcast conditions led to visibility problems and criticism of the venue.
Visits by Brisbane and Adelaide will provide opportunities for former Greater Western Victoria Rebels to play in their home region again.
The Lions’ list features Hugh McCluggage (South Warrnambool) and Jarrod Berry (Horsham Saints), while the Crows have brothers Brad and Matt Crouch (Beaufort/Ballarat).
The full AFL fixture is set to be released later this week.