St Kilda have the chance to make a flying start to next season, dodging all of this year’s finalists in the first month.
The Saints will capitalise on their ninth place finish this year by taking on four fellow bottom-10 clubs before playing Sydney in Wellington, New Zealand, in Round 5.
In a fixture to be released on Wednesday, it is believed St Kilda will start the season against Gold Coast, Richmond and Greater Western Sydney (in Canberra) before the much-hyped showdown with an Essendon team featuring former Saint Brendon Goddard in round four.
They will meet Carlton in a round seven Monday night clash as well as Adelaide and Collingwood in the first eight weeks, meaning only two of its first seven games are against 2012 finalists.
Like Carlton, St Kilda have a chance to take advantage of this year’s finish outside the finals, as bottom-10 sides will have a maximum of two games against only two of this year’s finalists.
Meanwhile, the it is believed that Collingwood will dodge the Perth double.
Next year will be the second consecutive season the Magpies have been scheduled five interstate trips – up from four in 2011.
They will travel to Perth once, to play Fremantle at Patersons Stadium, and are believed to have only one trip to Adelaide.
The blockbuster at ANZ Stadium against Sydney is part of the schedule and the Magpies are set to travel to Queensland twice to face Gold Coast and the Brisbane Lions.
Supporters should brace themselves for more Sunday games, particularly in the 3.10pm slot.
Collingwood played only one Sunday match this year, but that will increase to five in 2013.
It is understood Seven will benefit from Sunday 3.10pm Collingwood blockbusters against Carlton (Round 2), Hawthorn and Essendon.
Foxtel will also benefit from more Sunday twilight matches between better opponents.
The Sunday focus has raised questions about the traditional Saturday afternoon timeslot in Melbourne, with speculation that it will be watered down significantly.
Friday night is expected to become the exclusive domain of the bigger clubs, with up to five, including Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs, being frozen out of the premium timeslot.
BY JON RALPH, MARK STEVENS
First published on Herald Sun