Essendon’s bitter rivalry with Carlton has been built off 122 years of history and the clubs will once again clash just once in the home and away season next year.

It is, for the first ever time, the third consecutive year in which the Dons have only faced the Blues on one occasion and the sides will be hellbent on securing the four premiership points.

Next year’s battle will be fought on the big stage in round three, with the first bounce set for 7:25pm at the MCG on Thursday, April 2.

Of the 248 games between the teams, just three have been played on a Thursday. The latest of those wasn’t one to remember for the Dons, who were overrun in the final term to suffer a 17-point defeat in round three, 2001.

Essendon superstar Matthew Lloyd did his best to get the side over the line with five goals that evening, while Joe Misiti was outstanding with three goals from 19 disposals before an untimely knee injury cut his game short, an injury that would see him on the sidelines until round 14.

‘Smokin’ Joe Misiti’s knee injury didn’t help Essendon’s chances in round three, 2001. (Image: AFL Photos)

In the teams’ clash this year in round 11, the Bombers were too good and comfortably accounted for the Blues in at the MCG.

Icy rain tumbled down throughout the game, but the Bombers thrived in the difficult conditions to run away with a 41-point victory that provided an important confidence boost heading into the bye.

The most intriguing contest of the day was young gun Dylan Clarke’s tagging job on star Blue Patrick Cripps. In just his second senior game, Clarke’s focus and determination saw him emerge victorious, keeping Cripps to just 11 disposals – the midfielder’s lowest total from a full game in his career.

To top it off, Clarke gathered 23 disposals, 10 tackles, six clearances and five inside 50s on his way to the round 11 Rising Star nomination.

Only time will tell whether Clarke will get a second crack at Cripps next year, but one thing that is certain is there will be plenty on the line when the eyes of the footy world turn to the MCG to watch the big clubs face off.