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Dees, Dons to battle local clubs in AFL's Gather Round

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Adelaide and Port Adelaide will host blockbuster fixtures against Melbourne and Essendon to kick off 'Gather Round' in round four of the 2024 AFL season.

ANDREW DILLON, AFL CEO. Picture: Michael Willson/via Getty Images

Melbourne and Essendon have been handed the unenviable tasks of tackling home sides Adelaide and Port Adelaide during the AFL's second edition of 'Gather Round'.

South Australia will again play host to all 18 clubs in a four-day 'festival of footy' lined up for round four next year.

A Crows-Demons blockbuster will open the event on a Thursday night at Adelaide Oval (April 4), with the Power to host the Bombers at the same venue the following night.

Both matches will be expected to attract bumper crowds as the features of a bumper schedule.

Adelaide Oval will also be the setting for a double-header on the Saturday; Carlton v Fremantle and Geelong v Western Bulldogs.

And it will host a fifth match in the space of four days when premiers Collingwood tackle Hawthorn on the Sunday.

Mount Barker will host two weekend matches during next year's Gather Round - Sydney v West Coast and Gold Coast v GWS - after a successful AFL debut for the picturesque Adelaide Hills venue in 2023.

Adelaide's inner-suburban Norwood Oval will again host two matches; a Brisbane Lions v North Melbourne twilight clash on the Friday and a Richmond v St Kilda battle on the Sunday.

"Gather Round 2023 created a small slice of football history - all 18 clubs in the one state at the one time for a full round of nine matches and a celebration of footy," AFL chief executive Andrew Dillon said.

"South Australia really turned it on, and we are excited to bring fans a bigger and better experience in 2024.

"Last year's Gather Round had the wonderful feel of a grand final week, from the footy festival and the zip line over the Torrens River, to the community engagement activities and all the open training sessions the clubs held around the town, it was just an incredibly fun atmosphere which we are looking to top next season."

AFL GATHER ROUND 2024 (all times local)

Thursday, April 4

Adelaide v Melbourne, Adelaide Oval, 7.10pm

Friday, April 5

Brisbane Lions v North Melbourne, Norwood Oval, 4.40pm

Port Adelaide v Essendon, Adelaide Oval, 7.40pm

Saturday, April 6

Sydney v West Coast, Mount Barker, 1.00pm

Carlton v Fremantle, Adelaide Oval, 3.50pm

Geelong v Western Bulldogs, Adelaide Oval, 7.40pm

Sunday, April 7

Gold Coast v GWS, Mount Barker, 12.00pm

Richmond v St Kilda, Norwood Oval, 2.50pm

Collingwood v Hawthorn, Adelaide Oval, 4.40pm