Revealed: Grudge match set for bumper opening round
Adam Treloar's much-anticipated grudge match with his former side Collingwood will showcase a bumper Round 1 next March as football and crowds return to Melbourne as part of the AFL's COVID-19 fightback.
While the traditional Richmond-Carlton clash will kickstart the 2021 season at the MCG on March 18, much of the opening round attention will come the following night at the same venue with Treloar's first game for the Western Bulldogs against the Magpies.
Treloar's acrimonious split with Collingwood and his last-minute trade to the Bulldogs was one of the biggest shocks of the off-season.
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The AFL is set to reveal the first six rounds of the 2021 season on Monday or Tuesday, but will remain flexible as it monitors the ever-changing nature of the pandemic's impact on Australia.
But the Herald Sun can reveal the full round of matches in week one, where games will be played across four days and five states, with other highlights including:
● Richmond potentially unveiling two premiership flags - its 2019 and 2020 ones - on the opening night of the season against old rivals Carlton, who could also unveil its big trade acquisitions Zac Williams and Adam Saad.
● Jeremy Cameron facing the Adelaide Oval cauldron against the wooden spoon Crows in his first game for Geelong.
● Joe Daniher wearing the Brisbane Lions jumper for the first time at the Gabba against Sydney, the side he tried to join in the previous trade period but spurned this time around.
● David Noble kicking off his North Melbourne coaching career against flag fancies Port Adelaide, while Ben Rutten's first official match as Essendon senior coach will come against the club's bitter rival Hawthorn.
RELATED: SEE THE FULL PRE-SEASON FIXTURE
Treloar was shocked to learn the Magpies wanted to trade him as part of their salary cap squeeze post-season, despite the fact the explosive midfielder had five more seasons to run on a lucrative contract.
He had been desperate to stay at Collingwood, and made that fact clear to the club at the end of the season. Treloar's partner, Kim Ravaillion, who will spend 10 months in Queensland next year as she looks to reignite her netball career, recently criticised the Magpies for their lack of support.
Treloar claimed Nathan Buckley told him some senior players wanted him out of the club, which the Magpies coach continues to deny.
The rift between Collingwood and Treloar was so messy that Magpies fans were furious when the 27-year-old was traded to the Western Bulldogs in the dying moments of the trade period.
He was one of four Collingwood players - along with Jaidyn Stephenson, Tom Phillips and Atu Bosenavulagi - who found new homes during the AFL's exchange window.
Even after the contentious Treloar trade went through, a standoff ensued between the two clubs over how much money the Magpies would contribute to the deal.
After weeks of haggling, the saga was finally resolved when Collingwood agreed to pay around $1.5 million over five years, with the Dogs understood to have agreed to front-end the deal to ease the pressure on the Magpies.
The tensions involving the trade was such that Magpie vice-captain Taylor Adams said on RSN he had "broken bread" with Treloar recently.
New Melbourne forward Ben Brown will look to revive his AFL career when he takes on Fremantle in Round 1.
Boom recruit Brad Crouch and former Tiger Jack Higgins are expected to feature in the Saints' opening round clash with a new-look Greater Western Sydney at Giants Stadium, while the Eagles will take on Gold Coast in the final match of the round in Perth.
Originally published as Revealed: Grudge match set for bumper opening round