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Western Bulldogs president Peter Gordon says AFL must use Good Friday in order to promote equalisation

Date

Daniel Cherny

Bulldogs president Peter Gordon

Bulldogs president Peter Gordon Photo: Pat Scala

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."

Bad Friday.

Bad Friday. Photo: Craig Sillitoe

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."

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

77 comments

  • Are you kidding me? North Melbourne have been campaigning for a Good Friday game against Carlton since 1992, with profits going to charity. Now the AFL wants to hand it to a wealthy club to generate more profits for that club and itself? What a joke! Show some decency and give it to the club that has been asking for it for 20+ years.

    Commenter
    Lisa
    Date and time
    April 17, 2014, 10:07AM
    • The harsh reality is that very little of what the AFL does has any basis in "decency" or "fairness".

      Whatever the decision here it will be based solely on what the AFL wants . I can see one of the "weaker" clubs being involved but only if against one of the big 4. Won't work otherwise.

      Commenter
      CB
      Date and time
      April 17, 2014, 12:49PM
    • Feel sorry for North, Friday night football was their idea. They pioneered it and surprised even themselves with the crowds that turned out. Now I'm a Carlton supporter and have no issue with Collingwood and Essendon keeping ANZAC day, it was their idea they pioneered it, therefore North should always get as many Friday night games as they wish. Whole as a Carlton supporter I always want my teams interest first, I believe Smorgan is right on this. If the rich clubs are sick of subsidising the weaker clubs then giving Good Friday Games to the struggling Clubs is a no brainer. You could have one game in the day time and another in the evening. Since the good old days of Saturday day time games only the game times effect all clubs at times no doubt, however the battling clubs get the worst of it.

      Commenter
      Go Blues
      Date and time
      April 17, 2014, 1:05PM
    • Correction Gordon is right, brain fade

      Commenter
      Go Blues
      Date and time
      April 17, 2014, 1:12PM
  • Ok my preference is to leave it as footy free, will they be suggesting a 'blockbuster' on Xmas Day next?
    However, I do accept that Australia is not a country full of religious people, so if there is to be a game, then it seems to me two smaller clubs is the way to go. I am not a practising Christian but do have Christian beliefs and to me helping the smaller clubs would be fitting. If the crowd isn't massive does it matter? The AFL does not need the money & maybe it could demonstrate that it actually does care about the smaller clubs. Amen.

    Commenter
    Borissimo
    Location
    Perth
    Date and time
    April 17, 2014, 10:54AM
    • Maybe schedule the two bottom teams from the previous year?

      Maybe use it as an opportunity to promote the women's league?

      But I do agree that it should be a charity match

      Commenter
      Ailie
      Date and time
      April 17, 2014, 11:43AM
    • Of course they won't play on Christmas Day - it's in summer. I'd suggest Test cricket instead.

      Commenter
      Angus
      Date and time
      April 17, 2014, 1:03PM
    • Borrissimo, if they ever do play Good Friday they will respect the day, as they do ANZAC day. They have already stated they would use it to assist raising money for The RCH Good Friday appeal. As for the religious argument. No one would be forced to attend or watch a game. It's a matter of choice. Those who wish to attend church as per normal still will and can.

      Commenter
      Go Blues
      Date and time
      April 17, 2014, 1:09PM
    • Yes, it's bad enough that the AFL wants to make money off both Good Friday and ANZAC Day. They shouldn't be making profit off them - all money should go to charity and the RSL/Veterans support groups resp.

      Commenter
      David
      Location
      OutEast
      Date and time
      April 17, 2014, 1:20PM
    • NRL has been playing games on Good Friday for decades. AFL needs to get over itself.

      Commenter
      Jace
      Date and time
      April 17, 2014, 3:00PM

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