Sydney Swans fans will get an early season highlight next year with the 2012 premiership flag to be unfurled at the SCG in round two.
The 2013 fixture, which was revealed by the AFL this morning, confirmed that the Swans will play their first two matches in Sydney, including a round one away clash with GWS at ANZ Stadium followed by a round two match-up against the Gold Coast Suns at the SCG, where the flag will be unveiled.
See the entire Sydney Swans 2013 fixture
Sydney Swans CEO Andrew Ireland said two games in Sydney was the perfect way to begin the Swans’ 2013 campaign.
“It is a great start to the season for all our supporters, with two really significant games,” he said.
“The traditional unveiling of the premiership flag at our first home game of the season will be a huge highlight for fans early in the season.”
The Swans will then travel to Hobart to take on North Melbourne in round three, before leaving the country to face St Kilda in Wellington, New Zealand in round 5 in the first ever home and away clash played outside of Australia on ANZAC Day.
The Swans have also scored three Friday night matches this season, including a blockbuster clash with Collingwood at the MCG in round 9, as well as two Friday night contests at the SCG against Geelong (round 4) and Carlton (round 14).
Ireland said the club was looking forward to hosting strong Victorian clubs at the SCG in 2013, as well as the first-ever SCG clash between the Swans and cross-town GWS since they entered the competition.
“We are pleased to host big drawing clubs such as Geelong, Essendon, Carlton and Richmond at the SCG during the season,” he said.
“As we saw in 2012, access to big matches at the SCG will be limited due to the redevelopment so it has never been more important for our fans to sign up as members and guarantee themselves entry to these big games.”
The team also faces the tough task of back-to-back trips to Adelaide after drawing the Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide either side of the round 12 bye.
The Swans don’t have any trips north of the border, with the two matches against Queensland sides Gold Coast and the Brisbane Lions both scheduled for the SCG.
Much like the latter part of the 2012 season, the Swans have been dealt a tough end to the season, including a meeting with Collingwood at ANZ Stadium in round 20, the always difficult Geelong road trip in round 22, before ending the home and away season with a second Grand Final rematch against Hawthorn at ANZ Stadium - the first rematch being held at the MCG in round 7.
As in 2012, the Swans will host nine home matches at the SCG and two at ANZ Stadium, while Victorian fans will have the opportunity to see the Swans live on five occasions - down from six in 2012.
“We played just one home and away match at the MCG this year, so it is certainly a positive to play three matches there in 2013,” Ireland said.
“The Club have an incredibly passionate and loyal supporter base in Melbourne and as part of the fixture process every year, we request from the AFL six away matches in Victoria, so we are really disappointed that request has not been met.
“We have taken the step of securing access to a significant number of extra seats for members to the round 21 match against Geelong at Simmonds Stadium and will continue to work with the AFL to regain a sixth Victorian match in the future.”
The Swans will face five teams twice next season, including 2012 Grand Finalists Hawthorn (Round 7 and 23), GWS (Round 1 and 16), Geelong (Round 4 and 22), St Kilda (Round 5 and 21) and Collingwood (Round 9 and 20).
Ireland admitted that the 2013 draw would be a challenge for the Swans, but said it provided the club and its fans plenty of opportunities to watch top level AFL action.
“Our two home matches at ANZ Stadium are genuine blockbusters against our Preliminary Final opponents Collingwood, and Grand Final opponents Hawthorn,” he said.
“Ten matches against top eight teams from 2012 will certainly be a challenge in a football sense, but it is a great opportunity for our fans to see us taking on the best teams in big games.”