[Image: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images]
Brisbane Roar will open their Hyundai A-League 2016/17 season at home to Melbourne Victory in captain Matt McKay’s 200th appearance in the competition.
Football Federation Australia released the draw for the new season on Thursday, with Roar to host Victory at Suncorp Stadium in Round 1 on 7 October.
The rematch of last season’s Elimination Final coincides with McKay’s double century in the Hyundai A-League after joining Roar as a foundation player in 2005.
One of Football Queensland’s Community Football Ambassadors, McKay also played several seasons for Brisbane Strikers in the old National Soccer League and has racked up over 50 appearances for Australia.
Brisbane’s blockbuster opening match will be joined by a number of other huge games to kick off Season 12 including the first-ever Sydney Derby at ANZ Stadium and both the Melbourne Derby and Grand Final rematch in Round 2.
— Hyundai A-League (@ALeague) June 9, 2016
“There’s also that traditional great rivalry between Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory in that period so it’s a blockbuster start to the year,” FFA CEO David Gallop said.
“Every week you look at the competition and see unpredictability and unscripted drama, which was so well played out at the end of Season 11.
“We’ve obviously got a big bang start to the A-League. That’s the moment when the other codes come off and we come on and we thought it was important to start with a big bang.”