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Carlton Blues, Gather Round, Magic Round, blockbuster, primetime, 2023 season, Darwin, Alice Springs, Melbourne, Western Bulldogs, St Kilda, Essendon, GWS, Gold Coast

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Carlton has been handed another blockbuster clash in 2023, with reports the Blues will open the AFL’s new ‘Gather Round’ in South Australia.

7NEWS’ Tom Browne says the Blues and Crows will play the first match of Round 5 on the Thursday night – April 13 – at Adelaide Oval.

The decision means there will be no Gather Round Showdown as some punters had hoped.

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With Carlton to play in the first match of Round 5, it’s just another blockbuster for the club given they will open the season against Richmond and have poached the Good Friday clash with North Melbourne from the Western Bulldogs.

The Gather Round reveal comes on the same day a host of interstate games were confirmed ahead of the full fixture release expected on Friday.

Melbourne confirmed they were taking a game back to Alice Springs in 2023, where they will face GWS in Round 16.

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The Demons got a 14-point win over Port Adelaide in their clash at Traeger Park in 2022, and will look to emulate their winning run at the ground against the Giants.

It’s one of three games announced for the Northern Territory next season.

The Gold Coast Suns will take back-to-back matches to Darwin’s TIO Stadium – first facing the Western Bulldogs on May 27 as part of Sir Doug Nicholls Round, before playing Adelaide a week later on June 3.

It’s the first time in a decade that the Bulldogs will have played in Darwin – with only four players from that last match in 2013 still on the list.

“It was a fantastic experience getting back to Darwin in 2022 for the first time in two years and I know our players, coaches and staff will be circling these matches in the calendar again in 2023,” Suns chief executive Mark Evans said.

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“With eight players with links to the Northern Territory now on our AFL list and an ever-growing number of players from the region coming through our development pathways, two matches at TIO Stadium provides the opportunity for young Territorians to aspire to follow in their footsteps.

“With our playing squad to remain in Darwin in-between fixtures, we’re looking forward to the opportunity to engage with the local community away from the football field as well.”

St Kilda also revealed they’ll host Essendon in Round 3 at the MCG as part of the Saints’ celebration of the club’s 150 years.

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“This celebratory game in Round 3 will be an opportunity for everyone, whether you’ve been a fan for one year or fifty years, to come together, celebrate and cheer on the tri-colours in the passionate manner Saints fans are known for,” Saints CEO Simon Lethlean said.

The St Kilda-Essendon clash will be played at the MCG on April 1.

Story Credit: foxsports.com.au

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