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Blues to kick off 2016 season

Travis King, AFL.com,.au  October 25, 2015 10:38 AM

Richmond will host Carlton in the 2016 season opener. (Photo: AFL Photos)

Richmond will host Carlton in the 2016 season opener. (Photo: AFL Photos)

Arch-rivals Richmond and Carlton have been locked in for the 2016 season-opener at the MCG on March 24, in a clash that will pit former Blues speedster Chris Yarran against his ex-teammates for the first time.

The traditional Thursday night contest on Good Friday eve will kick off an enticing opening round fixture as rookie senior coach Brendon Bolton takes charge of the rebuilding Blues for the first time.

Round one will finish with a bang on Easter Monday with the annual blockbuster between Geelong and three-time reigning premier Hawthorn.

The Cats will be out for revenge after suffering a 62-point humbling from the Hawks in the opening round of 2015, this time with superstar recruit Patrick Dangerfield alongside Joel Selwood in midfield.

The AFL has once again baulked at scheduling a clash on Good Friday, despite a strong push by North Melbourne to play in a feature match.

Instead, the Kangaroos will have the chance to make amends for their dismal 77-point defeat at Adelaide Oval against the Crows on Saturday.

This time North will host the Crows at Etihad Stadium in new coach Don Pyke's first game at the helm for Adelaide.

All eyes will be trained on a new-look Collingwood when the Magpies go head-to-head with the Sydney Swans at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night in a marquee meeting.

Earlier in the day, Melbourne will play host to Greater Western Sydney at the MCG and Essendon will hope to get off on the right foot under new coach John Worsfold when the Bombers travel to Gold Coast to take on the Suns.

On Easter Sunday, Fremantle will have its hands full replicating its fast start to 2015 with a first-up clash at the Western Bulldogs' home ground pressure-cooker Etihad Stadium.

Beaten grand finalist West Coast looks set for an appealing home match at Domain Stadium against the Brisbane Lions, when Eagles recruit Jack Redden will face his old club after requesting a surprise move west.

Meanwhile, Port will host St Kilda at Adelaide Oval, with big-name recruits Charlie Dixon and Jake Carlisle potentially squaring-off after high-priced moves during the recent NAB AFL Trade Period.

Round one fixture:

Thursday, March 24
Richmond v Carlton, MCG

Saturday
Melbourne v Greater Western Sydney, MCG
Gold Coast v Essendon, Metricon Stadium
Sydney Swans v Collingwood, ANZ Stadium
North Melbourne v Adelaide, Etihad Stadium

Sunday
Western Bulldogs v Fremantle, Etihad Stadium
Port Adelaide v St Kilda, Adelaide Oval
West Coast v Brisbane Lions, Domain Stadium

Monday
Geelong v Hawthorn, MCG