The AFL officially released its fixture for the 2024 season on Thursday afternoon, with Essendon set to return to primetime footy.

The Bombers will kick off their 2024 campaign on Saturday, March 16 against old rivals Hawthorn at the MCG, where the club will honour and celebrate the 40-year anniversary of its 1984 and 1985 Premiership teams.

Four interstate trips await the Bombers between rounds two to eight, including a matchup with the Swans at the SCG in round two and an enticing Gather Round clash with hosts Port Adelaide in round four.

After the lone Friday night fixture in 2023, Gather Round begins a run of three consecutive primetime slots for the Bombers next season, facing off with the Western Bulldogs in round five before returning to Adelaide Oval for a round six clash with the Crows.

The Bombers are locked in for three MCG blockbusters, including the annual ANZAC Day clash with Collingwood in round seven, Dreamtime at the ‘G against the Tigers in round 11, and another edition of King’s Birthday Eve footy against the Blues in round 13.

ANZAC Day will be the first of two clashes with the reigning Premiers as the Bombers prepare for double-ups against St Kilda, Sydney, Adelaide, West Coast and Gold Coast throughout the season.

In total, the Bombers will play nine matches at Marvel Stadium and eight at the MCG in 2024, including 10 matches in a row in Melbourne between rounds 13-23, with the team’s bye to take place in round 14.

Essendon CEO Craig Vozzo said the fixture announcement created an exciting prospect for Bomber fans, with their support to once again shine on the big stages.

“Our 2024 AFL fixture presents us with a great opportunity to showcase our football club to our members and supporters across the country. More than one million fans attended our games in 2023 and the blockbuster games will continue next year, allowing great access for all our Bomber fans,” Vozzo said.

“We are counting down until our round one match against old rivals Hawthorn at the MCG, where we will recognise and celebrate our 1984 and 1985 Premiership-winning heroes. Our traditional blockbusters in Anzac Day, Dreamtime, and the second year of the King’s Birthday Eve match against Carlton allow our Bomber members and fans to get right behind their team.

“We’re back on Friday night footy with three games scheduled against Port Adelaide, Western Bulldogs and Adelaide for rounds four to six before the ANZAC Day blockbuster on Thursday, April 25 at 3.20pm to kick off round seven.

“With 11 home games split between the MCG and Marvel and an extra six games in Melbourne, we can’t wait to see our members and supporters create a home-ground atmosphere second to none, with noise and support that lifts our team every week. The atmosphere our members and supporters create every week plays such a significant role in helping us to win games.”

With marquee matchups at home and interstate, now is a better time than ever to get behind our journey and Be a Bomber with a 2024 Essendon Membership.