The key fixtures from a blockbuster opening A-League schedule

A-LEAGUE fans can pencil a number of unmissable fixtures into their calendars, with the first six rounds of fixtures locked in ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.

A short-term conference system will be utilised throughout the opening phase of competition with Wellington Phoenix joining all NSW-based clubs in the state, leaving the remaining six sides to battle it out to the end of 2021 when the next set of fixtures will begin.

There are derbies galore in the initial knockings of the 2021/22 A-League season as local rivals go toe-to-toe with shared ambition to get off to a flying start in the new campaign.

Read on as a-league.com.au takes you through five key fixtures to mark in your diaries.

READ: Conferences and contingencies at the heart of building a draw
MORE: Network 10 and Paramount+ to deliver double the football action on Saturday nights

Round 1: City title defence up and running

Preparing to defend their A-League crown for the very first time after emerging as Champions in 2020/21, Melbourne City will kick off the new campaign against Brisbane Roar at AAMI Park, the scene of the club's Grand Final triumph over Sydney FC.

City met Brisbane in Round 1 last season, with a Connor Metcalfe strike handing all three points to Patrick Kisnorbo's side. 

This time around the two teams meet in the very first fixture of the season on Friday, November 19, with Warren Moon's Roar intent on spoiling the party for the Champions. 

City won two of three games against Brisbane last season, with the Queenslanders notching a 3-0 win at home in their final meeting of the season.

  • Melbourne City v Brisbane Roar (Friday, November 19 - AAMI Park)

Download the draw for Round 1-6 of the A-League here

LAST MEETING: Brisbane Roar 3-0 Melbourne City

Round 1: Unprecedented coverage to bring two Derbies to life

Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC meet on an historic night for Australian football on Saturday, November 20 as part of the first Saturday night double-header to be broadcast by Network 10 and Paramount+.

Saturday nights will see one live A-League match on Network 10 and two live A-League matches on Paramount+ in 2021/22, with a simultaneous streaming experience on offer for Paramount+ subscribers.

Whilst the Sky Blues travel to Commbank Stadium to meet the Wanderers, Western United and Melbourne Victory will lock horns at GMHBA Stadium - and the action of both local derbies will occur concurrently with crosses between the two venues, live goal updates from both games and the opportunity to experience dynamic multi-screen viewing across Network 10 and Paramount+. 

  • Western Sydney Wanderers v Sydney FC (Saturday, November 20 - Commbank Stadium)
  • Western United v Melbourne Victory (Saturday, November 20 - GMHBA Stadium)
The stage is set for another tight tussle between the Sky Blues and Wanderers in Round 1
The stage is set for another tight tussle between the Sky Blues and Wanderers in Round 1

Round 1 - Mariners travel to take on the Jets in F3 Derby 

The derbies roll on in Round 1 as Newcastle Jets host Central Coast Mariners at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday, November 21. 

It's been an off-season of upheaval at both clubs with departing head coaches making way for Nick Montgomery and Arthur Papas at the Mariners and Jets respectively. The new managers will be eager to get off the mark with a win in this matchup between two old foes.

The Jets ended 2020/21 on a high with a three-game unbeaten run which started with a 1-0 win over the Mariners, after the Gosford side took maximum points from the first two F3 Derby encounters throughout the campaign.

  • Newcastle Jets v Central Coast Mariners (Sunday, November 21 - McDonald Jones Stadium)
Papas
Will the Jets achieve instant success under Papas in Round 1, or will Montgomery guide the Mariners to F3 Derby victory?

Round 4 - Victory seek vengeance in Original Rivalry

Melbourne Victory travel to Coopers Stadium to take on Adelaide United in a rivalry which stands the test of time. These long-standing enemies face off in the fourth round of A-League action in 2021/22 after a season bossed by the Reds in which Carl Veart's side won all three fixtures against Victory.

But with Tony Popovic at the helm and a wave of fresh faces in his playing squad, last season's wooden spooners will have increased motivation to get revenge over the Reds in 2021/22 and win an Original Rivalry fixture for the first time since February 29, 2020.

  • Adelaide United v Melbourne Victory (Saturday, December 11 - Coopers Stadium)

Round 5 - Christmas comes early as City meet Victory in  Melbourne Derby

In City's first two encounters with Melbourne Victory last season, the eventual Champions scored 13 goals, conceded 0 and notched six points, winning 6-0 in March before going one better in a 7-0 display in April.

Victory stemmed the bleeding in the third and final Melbourne Derby of the season, with a 95th-minute equaliser scored by Lleyton Brooks ensuring the side in Navy Blue took one point off City for the season with a 1-1 draw.

Meeting at AAMI Park on Sunday, December 18, fans of both sides will be eagerly anticipating the first clash between these two local rivals. After the devastating psychological blows of last season's Melbourne Derby blowouts, Victory will target maximum points in this early-season fixture to ensure they bury the demons of 2020/21 and get off to a fast start in the new campaign.

  • Melbourne City v Melbourne Victory (Saturday, December 18 - AAMI Park)
Jamie Maclaren
Maclaren celebrates scoring one of five goals against Victory in a 7-0 mauling during the 2020/21 season