Richmond, Carlton and Collingwood have reason to be happy, but Sydney and Hawthorn are putting on a brave face after the AFL released the fixture for the 2018 season on Tuesday.
The league does its best to be fair to each club, but there are inevitably winners and losers in an 18-team competition with a 22-game season.
As premiers, the Tigers have rightfully returned to primetime with eight Thursday and Friday night encounters and will be happy to only play two teams from this year’s top six – Adelaide and Geelong – twice.
The Pies will play five of their first six games at the MCG – with 17 of their matches in Victoria – and will only play two teams that finished in the top 12 from this season twice.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan denied Collingwood, which finished 13th this season, had been gifted a soft run to the finals after a four-year absence.
“Maybe on paper but they’ve got to get out there and do it,” McLachlan said.
“I think everyone understands the pressures and the challenges that Collingwood have got next year.
“I don’t think anyone thought that Richmond were going to be tough to beat this year and everyone will have a different view about what will happen next year.”
Here’s how your club fared in the draw:
Good: Seven of first 11 games at Adelaide Oval, including the grand final rematch against Richmond.
Bad: Consecutive six-day breaks ahead of crunch midyear games against Richmond and Geelong.
Teams played twice: Richmond, Greater Western Sydney, Port Adelaide, Melbourne, Carlton.
Good: A good stretch of home games either side of the bye.
Bad: No Friday night games and just one game broadcast nationally on free-to-air TV.
Teams played twice: Gold Coast, Greater Western Sydney, Collingwood, North Melbourne, Hawthorn.
Good: A remarkable four Friday night games, despite finishing 15th last season and being unlikely to make significant gains next year.
Bad: Seven six-day breaks, including two in a row before their midyear bye.
Teams played twice: Gold Coast, Collingwood, Adelaide, Western Bulldogs, Fremantle.
Good: Should beat all of Fremantle, Carlton and Brisbane twice, plus lucrative MCG games against Victorian rivals.
Bad: Just four days to recover from their Anzac Day clash with Essendon before facing premiers Richmond.
Teams played twice: Richmond, Essendon, Fremantle, Carlton, Brisbane.
Good: A relatively easy end to the season should help their finals chances.
Bad: Like Collingwood, the Bombers face a four-day break after the Anzac Day game.
Teams played twice: Richmond, Port Adelaide, Hawthorn, Collingwood, Fremantle.
Good: Four of their first six games at the new Perth Stadium after buying the rights to a Gold Coast ‘home’ game.
Bad: Very much off-Broadway with no Friday night games and just three broadcast nationally on free-to-air TV.
Teams played twice: West Coast, Port Adelaide, Essendon, Collingwood, Carlton.
Good: Nine games at the redeveloped Kardinia Park and no games outside of Victoria for the final six weeks of the season.
Bad: Consecutive away games against Adelaide and Sydney will test them.
Teams played twice: Melbourne, Hawthorn, Gold Coast, Sydney, Richmond.
Good: Limited travel after the midyear bye. Just three six-day breaks.
Bad: Plenty of travel in the first two months, including trips to Shanghai and Perth, with Metricon Stadium unavailable.
Teams played twice: North Melbourne, Carlton, Brisbane, Melbourne, Geelong.
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY
Good: A soft start with Sydney their only top-eight opponent in the first six weeks.
Bad: Pretty unlucky to have just one Friday night game in the schedule.
Teams played twice: Sydney, St Kilda, Brisbane, West Coast, Adelaide.
Good: A good chance to bank points early with four straight games at the MCG.
Bad: Some tough double-ups, including a trip to the SCG to face Sydney in round 23.
Teams played twice: Geelong, Sydney, Essendon, St Kilda, Brisbane.
Good: Should get a big commercial boost from their Anzac Day eve clash against premiers Richmond.
Bad: Just one Friday night game despite continued improvement and star power.
Teams played twice: Adelaide, Geelong, Gold Coast, St Kilda, Western Bulldogs.
Good: Kept their prized Good Friday game, albeit against a different opponent.
Bad: Not much exposure with no Friday night games.
Teams played twice: Brisbane, Gold Coast, St Kilda, Sydney, Western Bulldogs
Good: Plenty of night games at Adelaide Oval and another trip to Shanghai to face Gold Coast.
Bad: A potentially tricky final month with game against Adelaide, West Coast and Essendon.
Teams played twice: Adelaide, Essendon, Fremantle, Western Bulldogs, West Coast.
Good: Back in prime time with five Friday night games after being granted none during their premiership year.
Bad: A five-day break after their Anzac Day eve clash with Melbourne.
Teams played twice: Adelaide, Geelong, Essendon, St Kilda, Collingwood.
Good: Will cash in on a Good Friday game for the first time after being picked ahead of the Western Bulldogs to face North Melbourne.
Bad: Two consecutive six-day breaks after the bye, with six in total.
Teams played twice: Greater Western Sydney, Hawthorn, Melbourne, North Melbourne, Richmond.
Good: A combined seven Thursday and Friday night games, including marquee clashes with Richmond and Hawthorn.
Bad: A whopping eight six-day breaks will test their fitness department.
Teams played twice: West Coast, Greater Western Sydney, Geelong, North Melbourne, Hawthorn.
Good: Twelve games at the new Perth Stadium, including the season-opener against Sydney.
Bad: They would have liked more than two games at the MCG.
Teams played twice: Fremantle, Greater Western Sydney, Port Adelaide, Sydney, Western Bulldogs.
Good: Six of their first eight games at home and plenty of prime time clashes.
Bad: A huge snub to be replaced by St Kilda for the lucrative Good Friday game against North Melbourne.
Teams played twice: West Coast, Port Adelaide, Melbourne, North Melbourne, Carlton.