North Melbourne pushed hard for football to be played on this religious holiday, and they finally get their wish in 2017 when they host the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium.
The round four clash will begin at 4.20pm with the AFL already in discussions with the Royal Children’s Hospital and its broadcasters about how the game can help promote and improve the Good Friday Appeal.
AFL general manager of clubs and operations Travis Auld said the timeslot was chosen so it did not conflict with major Good Friday services throughout the day.
“The decision to now schedule a match was made on the basis that our society has changed in recent decades and the majority of football fans, who are our ultimate decision-makers, share the view of our clubs who have expressed their wish to play on this day,” Auld said.
“(But) we accept that some football fans remain opposed to scheduling a match on Good Friday.”
North Melbourne chief executive Carl Dilena was very excited by the announcement and said that his club will work closely with those related to the Good Friday Appeal to ensure both events can run side by side.
“We’re absolutely thrilled by the announcement,” Dilena said.
“It’s a tribute to this club’s track record of innovation and a credit to all the great North people like Bob Ansett, Ron Casey and Greg Miller, who initially proposed this game in the late 80s and early 90s.
“While we have a game to win, there’s also going to be a lot of cohesion between the clubs and the AFL as we work with the Appeal organisers and Channel Seven, to ensure there’s a good synergy between the two major events.
“There are a lot of great things we can do together to achieve some great outcomes and we will sit down in due course to discuss those with all the key stakeholders.
“We’ve always had a great relationship with the Royal Children’s Hospital, as virtual neighbours, and look forward to helping make this day even greater.”
The AFL also confirmed this may not be a permanent fixture for the Kangaroos, as many clubs have requested for some Good Friday football.