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Blues return home for NAB Challenge

Danielle Balales, Carlton Media  October 27, 2015 12:00 PM

Carlton will host arch-rival Essendon at Ikon Park in the 2016 NAB Challenge. (Photo: AFL Photos)

Carlton will host arch-rival Essendon at Ikon Park in the 2016 NAB Challenge. (Photo: AFL Photos)

Carlton fans rejoice – football will once again return to Ikon Park.

On Tuesday morning the AFL released its 2016 pre-season fixture, with the Blues scheduled to play archrival Essendon at Ikon Park on Sunday 28 February.

The full fixture for the 2016 AFL NAB Challenge will see all 18 teams play three matches across a four-week stretch between February 18 and Sunday March 13.

Carlton will kick off the pre-season competition against reigning premier Hawthorn at Aurora Stadium in Tasmania on Thursday 18 February, before returning to Ikon Park to battle it out with the Bombers.

The Blues will then take on the Swans at Etihad Stadium in their final match of the pre-season competition on Friday 11 March.

Carlton’s CEO Steven Trigg says it’s an exciting first fixture for senior coach Brendon Bolton and the fans.

“It’s the first time we’ve played in Launceston since 2007, so this is a great opportunity for us to reconnect with our Tasmanian members and supporters,” Trigg said.

CLICK HERE TO SYNC OUR 2016 NAB CHALLENGE FIXTURE TO YOUR CALENDAR

“Brendon’s from Tassie, so there’s no doubt he’ll enjoy travelling to his home state to take on his former club.”

Trigg says he’s also looking forward to playing traditional rival Essendon at Ikon Park.

“It’s always exciting when our players get the chance to run out on their home ground, and taking on our traditional rivals will make for a great contest.

“The game is scheduled for Sunday afternoon, we will turn it into a great event day and are hoping to fill the stands – just like old times.”

The AFL will release the 2016 Premiership home and away fixture on Thursday.

CARLTON'S NAB CHALLENGE MATCHES:

Match 1
Thursday, 18 February
Hawthorn vs. Carlton
Aurora Stadium
7:10pm EDT

Match 2
Sunday, 28 February
Carlton vs. Essendon
Ikon Park
2:05pm EDT

Match 3
Friday, 11 March
Carlton vs. Sydney Swans
Etihad Stadium
5:50pm EDT

Click here to see the full 2016 NAB Challenge fixture