THE Brisbane Lions have been rewarded for their improved on-field performances last season by being allocated a Friday night blockbuster against Collingwood at the Gabba in round 10 next year.
The draw, released on Tuesday, also included home games against heavyweights West Coast, Geelong, Adelaide and Carlton, and several twilight games at the Gabba.
CEO Malcolm Holmes said the club was pleased with the overall outcome, although Melbourne-based fans will only get to see the team play five times - just one of those at the MCG.
"Hosting a Friday night blockbuster against Collingwood is a fantastic outcome, as well as other big games against top-eight teams from 2012 like Adelaide, West Coast, and Geelong," Holmes said.
"Our Victorian members need to be aware the club requested six games in Melbourne, however ... the AFL was unable to accommodate that request in this year's fixture.
"We're obviously disappointed with that outcome, but understand the changing landscape the AFL now operates under.
"We'll continue to lobby the AFL for six games in Melbourne in future years."
The Lions will kick off their season against the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on Saturday, March 30, before its first home game against the Crows at the Gabba at 3.40pm the following Saturday.
That will be followed by matches against Gold Coast, North Melbourne and Melbourne, before a sequence of eight extremely tough games that will define Brisbane's season.
Those games are against premiers Sydney at the SCG, West Coast (home), Essendon (away), Carlton (home), Collingwood (home), Fremantle (away), Geelong (home) and Hawthorn (away).
After accusations that last year's draw heavily favoured some teams, the AFL said it had gone to great lengths to try to ensure the 2013 fixture was as equitable as possible.
To that end, none of the teams that finished outside the top eight last year will play any of the top four teams twice in 2013.
In the case of the Lions, the teams they will play twice are Geelong, North Melbourne, the Western Bulldogs, Melbourne and the Gold Coast.
Brisbane will also travel to Darwin for the first time to take on Melbourne in round 17, one of 14 games to be played outside the major centres.
That includes four in Launceston, three in Canberra and Hobart, two in Darwin, one in Cairns, and for the first time for premiership points a match in New Zealand.
That will see St Kilda play a "home" game against Sydney in Wellington on Thursday, April 25.
Lions draw: R1 Mar 30 Dogs (a), R2 Apr 6 Crows (h), R3 Apr 13 Suns (a), R4 Apr 21 Roos (a), R5 Apr 28 Demons (h), R6 May 5 Swans (a), R7 May 11 Eagles (h), R8 May 18 Bombers (a), R9 May 25 Blues (h), R10 May 31 Magpies (h), R11 Bye, R12 Jun 15 Dockers (a), R13 Jun 23 Cats (h), R14 Jun 30 Hawks (a), R15 Jul 6 Suns (h), R16 Jul 13 Roos (h), R17 Jul 20 Demons (a), R18 Jul 28 Port (a), R19 Aug 3 Saints (h), R20 Aug 10 Tigers (a), R21 Aug 17 Giants (h), R22 Aug 25 Dogs (h), R23 TBA Cats (a). Suns draw: R1 Mar 30 Saints (h), R2 Apr 6 Swans (a), R3 Apr 13 Lions (h), R4 Apr 20 Port (h), R5 Apr 27 Giants (a), R6 May 4 Dockers (h), R7 May 12 Demons (a), R8 May 18 Dogs (h), R9 May 26 Hawks (a), R10 Jun 1 Cats (a), R11 Jun 8 Roos (h), R12 Jun 15 Bombers (a), R13 Bye, R14 Jun 29 Crows (h), R15 Jul 6 Lions (a), R16 Jul 13 Tigers (a), R17 Jul 20 Magpies (h), R18 Jul 27 Blues (h), R19 Aug 3 Eagles (a), R20 Aug 10 Demons (h), R21 Aug 17 Port (a), R22 Aug 25 Saints (a), R23 TBA Giants (h).