AFL season to open in Adelaide in March

ADELAIDE will be hoping it's a case of history repeating when it opens the 2013 AFL premiership season with a Friday night home match against Essendon on March 22.

The last time the Crows kicked the season off was in 1991 - its first year in the competition - and the club celebrated by smashing Hawthorn by 86 points.

With the MCG unavailable, the only other match scheduled for that first weekend will be a West Australian derby between the Eagles and Dockers on Saturday, March 23.

The first game in Melbourne will be the now traditional Carlton v Richmond clash at 'The G' on Thursday night, March 28.

The other highlight of the second weekend of the opening split round will be the Easter Monday clash at the MCG between Geelong and Hawthorn.

The teams played a classic on Easter Monday this year (which was in round two), Geelong coming from more than three goals down deep into the final quarter to win by two points.

AFL general manager broadcasting, scheduling and legal affairs, Simon Lethlean said the split round had been designed to maximise exposure for all clubs.

"Scheduling the opening round over two weeks enables us to showcase the start of the season on Friday and Saturday night in SA and WA in week one, and then schedule the remainder of the matches over Easter in the second week, which will maximise exposure opportunities," he said.

The AFL will endeavour to accommodate specific requests from clubs in the draw, including Carlton's wish to play ach-rival Collingwood early in the season, and Essendon's request to play Carlton on June 7 to mark the 140th anniversary of Essendon's frst match on that date back in 1873, also against the Blues.

The full 2013 premiership season fixture will be released later this month.