THE Bendigo Gold will hope the saying 'be careful what you wish for' doesn't ring true after the VFL fixture was released on Tuesday.
The Gold got the home draw it wanted, with five bumper clashes against AFL clubs' standalone teams.
But Bendigo will also face a challenging away fixture.
The positives include QEO clashes against Geelong in round one, Essendon on Good Friday evening and Footscray on Anzac Day night.
Richmond on a Saturday night and Collingwood to kick-off the final round are other highlights.
Sunday 'home' games against North Ballarat in Swan Hill and against Northern Blues in Echuca also fit with the club's desire to bring quality football to the region.
On the flip-side is a tough away draw - including games at Werribee, Victoria Park against Collingwood, Sandringham, Box Hill, Port Melbourne and Williamstown.
Bendigo, which went win-less last season, only plays expected battlers Frankston (away) and Coburg (home) once each.
While coach Aussie Jones said the fixture is "positive" for the Gold, he's already challenging his troops to step up next season.
"In terms of the overall club it's perfect, we get the opportunity to bring AFL footy to town," he said.
"But on field it's really going to test our group, which they're looking forward to."
Fixture: R1 Geelong (QEO, April 4), R2 Werribee (Avalon Airport Oval, April 12), R3 Essendon (QEO, April 18), R4 Footscray (QEO, April 25), R5 Port Melbourne (North Port Oval, May 3), R7 Collingwood (Victoria Park, May 17), R8 North Ballarat (Allen Garden Reserve Swan Hill, May 25), R9 Coburg (QEO, June 8), R10 Frankston (Frankston Oval, June 15), R11 Northern Blues (Victoria Park, Echuca, June 22), R12 Sandringham (Trevor Barker Beach Oval, June 29), R14 Casey Scorpions (QEO July 12), R15 North Ballarat (Eureka Stadium July 19), R16 Williamstown (Burbank Oval, July 27), R17 Footscray (Victoria University Whitten Oval, August 3), R18 Richmond (QEO, August 9), R19 Box Hill (Box Hill City Oval, August 16), R20 Collingwood (QEO, August 22).