The AFL must resist the temptation to simply re-place an existing blockbuster on Good Friday, and should instead utilise the opportunity to schedule financially weaker clubs as a method of equalisation.
That's the the view of Western Bulldogs president Peter Gordon, who hit back on Thursday morning over speculation that powerful Essendon would be part of an inaugural Good Friday game next year.
With confidence increasing across the football community that the AFL Commission will ratify a proposal to fixture a game on the public holiday for the first time, Gordon argued that the league needed to be innovative if the concept were to materialise.
"You wouldn't fixture Carlton and Collingwood to play that day because it's a blockbuster no matter when you play it," Gordon told SEN.
"This is an opportunity over a three to five year period to start providing some free-to-air opportunity and some real opportunity to some of the smaller clubs.
"If we were hypothetically in a situation where the Demons and GWS for example (were fixtured) and built a rivalry betyween two teams over the next five years whereby you don't pack it out in year one, but by year five you have done something great, then you achieved something greater for the game than you would by fixturing two clubs, or even one club that was guaranteed to pack out Etihad Stadium anyway."
Gordon indicated that his club was putting up its hand to be involved in a match on Good Friday.
"We'd love to do it, we think that it's been done in other sports. I think a lot of attitudes have changed in relation to this and we'd be thrilled to do it."
The Bulldogs boss contended that handing the game to some of the smaller clubs would be in line with the AFL's recent moves towards equalisation.
"I think we ought to be bold and we ought to be creative and we ought to use the opportunity so that in ten or twenty years time one of these debates about equalisation which is that these clubs aren't using opportunities themselves, they aren't getting off their butts, goes away."
Essendon tick all the AFL's boxes for Good Friday football by being a big club, having lots of fans and also, by being a really big club.— Inside Sauce (@Inside_Sauce) April 17, 2014
ief Andrew Demetriou, who has opposed a Good Friday game, won’t play a role in putting together the 2015 draw as he’s stepping down later this year. Former Hawthorn champion and SEN host was Dermott Brereton skeptical however about whether the chance that two weaker clubs could capture the wider imagination on Good Friday.
"If you take the Easter break, you've got Thursday night football, Saturday, Sunday, Monday you plop in Friday football, even a one-off game, that's five days of football in a row, unless it is a sexy game it'll get lost in there and people will just say 'so what' and won't turn up," Brereton said.
Bulldogs coach Brendan McCartney says he has turned the corner in accepting there’s a place for football on the religious holiday.
"We’d love to be involved in a game like that. Clubs seem to be queuing up," McCartney told reporters on the eve of Good Friday."Probably for a long time I have agreed with no playing on Good Friday.'
"As a kid I grew up with the Good Friday Appeal. It was something that was always on in our house.
"It’s a Victorian institution.
"But it’s time for a game of footy now. We can probably do both."
North Melbourne and Carlton have long pushed their claims for playing on Good Friday.
"We don’t mind who we play, if the AFL would like us in that game," McCartney added.
"We’ll play anyone."
League chief Andrew Demetriou, who has opposed a Good Friday game, won’t play a role in putting together the 2015 draw as he’s stepping down later this year.
- with AAP