Trio of marquee Friday night clashes to headline the final rounds of the AFL season

A trio of top-four defining fights on Friday night will mark the next round of the AFL’s floating fixture.

The league will this week reveal the prime-time matches it has picked from rounds 20-22 to bring an incredibly even home and away season to a potentially thrilling climax.

It is clear that round 20 will start in Perth, with Fremantle hosting Melbourne at Optus Stadium.

The following week Brisbane will welcome Carlton to the Gabba, while St Kilda will have the Lions on Friday night of Round 22 at Marvel Stadium.

The results of the three matches are likely to have important implications for the final.

As usual, the schedule for Round 23 will not be decided until closer to that weekend.

But the Lions could play in that round again on a Friday night, as they have Melbourne on the final weekend of the home-and-away season. Carlton and Collingwood will also meet at the MCG.

As expected, the footy will be saved after Round 17 on Thursday night unless the AFL schedules a final on that day in September after the pre-final bye.

As things stand, 10 games will be played on a Thursday night this year. The league is committed to more games in that slot next year, which has long had the support of the AFL Players’ Association.