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Good Friday clash could be rotated between clubs

The AFL has announced that AFL football may be played on Good Friday for the first time in 2015

The AFL has announced that AFL football may be played on Good Friday for the first time in 2015

Holy day matches not good for football: religious leaders

The teams that contest the first Good Friday match will not necessarily have a permanent hold on the fixture, with AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan expecting an ideal match-up will reveal itself over time following the league’s decision that it was the “right time” to permit a game to be played on the religious holiday.

While McLachlan said it was not a given that the 2015 fixture would feature a Good Friday match, as it will fall in round one of a late-starting season due to the World Cup cricket final, he said all teams, match-ups, timeslots and venues would be considered when the executive decided when and where the first game would be played.

The Bulldogs and North Melbourne have been lobbying the AFL for their own blockbuster clash.

The Bulldogs and North Melbourne have been lobbying the AFL for their own blockbuster clash. Photo: Justin McManus

North Melbourne has pushed longest for a Good Friday game and will most likely play the Western Bulldogs given the club's preferred opponent, Carlton, is expected to be playing the season opener against Richmond on the same weekend.

The Bulldogs have also lobbied the AFL for some time, with Sydney and Gold Coast also pushing their case in recent years. Neither Collingwood nor Essendon are to play on the day having conceded they had had what McLachlan termed a “pretty good run” at the big games.

The CEO said ladder position, and teams that played competitive, fun and watchable football would determine which were given first opportunity to claim the day.

“I think what happens is that permanent slots evolve. I think you go into something like this with the view that you could rotate it,” McLachlan said.

“I think it’s only in the last five years that Hawthorn and Geelong have made Easter Monday their own and I think that’s a great example of what we would hope will happen in this situation. But I don’t think you go in there enshrining anything.”

McLachlan said scheduling two low-drawing clubs would give both the chance to generate a good crowd, while  a stronger club would “mitigate the risk” of a less-than-ideal turnout. The AFL’s fixturing chief Simon Lethlean had consulted many parties, including church groups, Good Friday appeal organisers and broadcasters, as part of his research.

He said a Good Friday clash would more than likely complement the traditional Royal Children’s Hospital appeal broadcast throughout the day on Channel 7, that the Kangaroos' long-held interest would “certainly” be a consideration and that a game played outside Victoria was a definite possibility, with a Gold Coast or Sydney game both appealing.

“What I think is that people want to see a good game. I think it’s more about where the clubs sit on the ladder, and what people view the contest as going to be like is as important as the two teams themselves,” McLachlan said.

“When you look at the Bulldogs and see the football they played on the weekend, they’re a much more appealing team all round today than they were maybe three or four days ago, because they played unbelievable football on the weekend.

“It’s a pretty linear equation; if you play competitive, fun football that people watch, then you’ll get the good slots. It’s as simple as that. If you play non-competitive football it’s very difficult to put you in those good slots. I do think that’s a pretty simple message.”

Commission chairman Mike Fitzpatrick said while voting on a Good Friday game had always been tight, it was the right time to permit a game to be played given community attitudes had changed over time and that most of the AFL's competitors played games on the day.

“There has been a growing appetite to hold a game on this day and on balance we believe the time is right," he said.

“AFL matches are scheduled on every other public holiday during the season and we know that many families want to be able to attend and or watch football together on that day."

 

115 comments

  • North versus Bulldogs??
    Think i'd rather go to church.

    Commenter
    dd
    Date and time
    June 16, 2014, 3:22PM
    • You go to your church where they serve bread and wine, I'll go to mine where they serve hot donuts, beer and footy!
      You sing some hymns, I'll sing the club song (hopefully)
      You stay a one eyed supporter of whoever (don't care who really) - I'll celebrate the broader football community!
      Get a bit of life into you dd - there other things about football other than just watching your own team win.
      Woof Woof!

      Commenter
      Syd
      Location
      In The Kennel
      Date and time
      June 16, 2014, 4:12PM
    • And, Syd? There are a lot more exciting things in life than football or AFL!
      Spare us the extra days of either religion, please. Both are simply mindless opium for the masses.

      Commenter
      Jump
      Date and time
      June 16, 2014, 4:46PM
    • Yep, concur with Syd, well done to the league for NOT giving another prime fixture to clubs who really don't need the money. You want equalisation? This is a good start.
      As for those who are protesting about this being on a 'Holy Day', you sound about as current as Tony Abbott does.

      Commenter
      Getitorn
      Date and time
      June 16, 2014, 5:06PM
    • About time. Long overdue. Each to their own religion. The Churches of the MCG, Patterson, AAMI, Skilled, Gabba, Etihad will always pull in a large devotional crowd - more than any Cathedral. Let the people come and pay homage.

      NRL have played on good-friday for sometime and God's (Jehovah, Allah, Vishnu, etc) wrath has not descended on QLD or NSW or VIC (Storm). No recent world floods or plague.

      Rotation is good. As it would be for Anzac Day and Easter Monday. Overall it would be good for footy. Teams would rise to the challenge. In Melbourne it would have to be two local sides. If interstate, game should be a derby.

      Judging by Doggies and Demon's efforts on the weekend some exciting footy contests lay ahead and they'll draw large crowds whenever they play. As a Cat's supporter I'd take the opportunity to watch whoever played, and do when Cats play interstate.

      All is and will be good.

      Amen

      Commenter
      Leszek
      Location
      Noosa
      Date and time
      June 16, 2014, 5:15PM
    • We can't have any days where there are no distractions. This is why tearing up the traditions that have sustained our society for 200 years must be disposed of. Days without distractions and something to bet on, might lead to the dreaded "quiet time", where we have to look inside and reflect on our lives. We cant even have that for a few days a year. We know how disturbing that could be. Quick, pass me another beer to help me artificially dull my pain.

      Commenter
      w ch
      Date and time
      June 16, 2014, 5:37PM
    • "The number of Australians identifying their religion as Christianity is eight times larger than all other religions combined." Why cant Good Friday be respected for the many Australian's who are Christians? Minority groups of all descriptions get very vocal at even the slightest whiff of anything they find unfair to their sensitivities. But it seems ok for everyone to stomp all over Christianity. Shame on the AFL! If any of the players are Christian will the club make them play on Good Friday? I would hope they take a stance and refuse. I wonder how much Christians will cop before they stop turning the other cheek and push back the same other groups do?

      Commenter
      Strike
      Date and time
      June 17, 2014, 9:22AM
    • If the AFL was fair dinkum all these 'special' games would be rotated (yes ANZAC Day included) to be fair to ALL teams. Oh that's right some teams are more 'equal' than others. Even if they are under investigation. Go figure.

      Commenter
      Trevor
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      June 17, 2014, 11:46AM
  • ...a big clanger by the AFL, just another revenue raiser! People will be rightly upset. (and religion has nothing and everything to do with it!)
    So what next?... 364 days of footy? (with only Christmas day off?)

    Commenter
    Les
    Location
    ... not watching footy.
    Date and time
    June 16, 2014, 3:23PM
    • It really is pathetic, corporate greed. What don't they also schedule a match on Christmas Day?

      Commenter
      Matthew
      Location
      Adelaide
      Date and time
      June 16, 2014, 3:40PM

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