Wooden spooners Carlton and their Tasmanian coach Brendon Bolton will face the wrath of Hawthorn at its Launceston fortress next year.
Ahead of the AFL’s full 2019 fixture release – which has been delayed until Thursday – The Examiner can reveal that the Blues and Hawks will clash at UTAS Stadium in round 6 on Sunday, April 28, from 3.20pm.
It will be only Carlton’s second appearance for premiership points in Launceston. The encounter will not clash with any state or community football in the region and going off previous fixtures, a sizeable crowd can be expected.
Carlton played at the venue twice in 2016 with 9181 fans watching a February pre-season fixture and 18,112 witnessing a 19-point loss in July.
That remains Launceston’s biggest attendance in the last eight years – since 19,217 turned up to see Sydney challenge the Hawks in April 2012.
In contrast, last year’s crowd of 9007 for the Hawks’ bout with Gold Coast was the lowest attendance at the venue in 17 years of AFL matches.
It was announced on Monday that 2017 premier Richmond would play a pre-season match at UTAS Stadium on Saturday, March 9, while Launceston’s inaugural AFLW fixture will feature North Melbourne and Western Bulldogs on Friday, February 15.
As per its agreement with the Tasmanian government, Hawthorn will play a further three matches at its adopted home next season.
In previous seasons, the AFL has generally rostered low-drawing non-Victorian sides like Brisbane, Gold Coast, Port Adelaide, GWS and Fremantle to Launceston along with Victorian clubs like St Kilda, Western Bulldogs and North Melbourne.
UPDATE: The AFL has delayed the full 2019 fixture release until 11am on Thursday. It was scheduled to be unveiled on Wednesday.
LOCKED IN SO FAR
- AFLW: North Melbourne v Western Bulldogs at UTAS Stadium on Friday, February 15, from 7.15pm
- AFL PRE-SEASON: Hawthorn v Richmond at UTAS Stadium on Saturday, March 9, from 7.10 pm
- AFL ROUND 6: Hawthorn v Carlton at UTAS Stadium on Sunday, April 28, from 3.20pm.