Up to three Bombers could chalk up double centuries in 2022.
Here’s a list of the milestones to look forward to following the release of the 2022 fixture.
200 games – Michael Hurley (193), Dyson Heppell (191), Dylan Shiel (180)
It’s a race between Hurley and Heppell to become the 25th player in history to reach the 200-game milestone for Essendon.
Hurley, who missed the entire 2021 season due to ongoing complications from a hip infection, will start on the back foot in his bid to return to the top level.
If the 31-year-old’s quest is successful, he could play his 200th match as early as round seven against the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium. He’d need another 10 games after that, however, to become the third Bomber to reach 200 in No.18 after greats Matthew Lloyd (270) and Paul Vander Haar (201), given he wore No.22 in his debut season.
Heppell, who will lead the Bombers as captain for a sixth consecutive season, enjoyed his best output in a season since 2018, playing 19 games in a new role across half-back in 2021.
That puts the 29-year-old within nine games of becoming the only No.21 other than Ken Fletcher to reach the double century - a milestone that could come as early as round nine against Sydney at the SCG.
If star midfielder Shiel can have an uninterrupted season, he’ll play his 200th AFL game against his former GWS teammates at GIANTS Stadium in round 21.
150 games – Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti (124)
Fan favourite McDonald-Tipungwuti would need to play the maximum amount of games in a season (finals included) to reach 150, so he’ll be dreaming of playing his milestone match on the biggest stage of all.
Durability has hardly been a concern for the electrifying small forward, who broke Essendon’s consecutive games record in the AFL era against Collingwood in round five, 2020.
He has missed just four games since his debut in round one, 2016.
100 games – Kyle Langford (98), Andrew McGrath (93), Tom Cutler (87), Peter Wright (87)
Langford is due to reach the ton when the Bombers face the Lions at Marvel Stadium in their first home game of the season in round two.
Having started his career in the No.30, he’ll need to wait until at least 2023 to join mentor Jobe Watson on the No.4 locker, however, with the club great passing his number to Langford at the end of 2017.
Fellow midfielder McGrath is next in line to reach 100 games. The 23-year-old is hoping for a smooth run in 2022 after an injury-interrupted two seasons, and should he get it, he’ll chalk up the century as early as round seven against the Bulldogs.
Cutler and Wright are locked on 87 games apiece, having crossed over from Brisbane and Gold Coast respectively in recent seasons.
50 games – Jordan Ridley (48), Nick Hind (43), Will Snelling (41), Brayden Ham (34)
Two milestones could be celebrated against the Lions in round two, with 50-gamer Ridley to join 150-gamer Langford if the pair can enjoy an injury-free lead-up.
While the 50-game milestone isn’t big, it will hold extra significance for Hind and Snelling, who have been overlooked in drafts and had to work their way through state leagues to become regular fixtures at AFL level.