AFL on Good Friday appears inevitable.
Now it’s just a matter of holier-than-thou clubs squabbling for the right to play like seagulls over a chip.
With the Andrew Demetriou regime to finish at the end of this season, the league’s reluctance to schedule a match on the Christian day of remembrance is expected to also cease.
That’s the view of outgoing chief executive Demetriou, who described it as “inevitable”, and also North Melbourne chairman James Brayshaw.
“From what I hear, it’s going to happen,” Brayshaw said on Good Friday.
“It’ll be round one next year. It’s going to be amazingly exciting.”
The Kangaroos have been pushing the Good Friday barrow since 1992, despite strident opposition from league headquarters.
Brayshaw reaffirmed his preference would be for the Kangaroos and Carlton to play a twilight fixture at Etihad Stadium and take ownership of the day, as Geelong and Hawthorn have done with Easter Monday.
Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs have recently made claims to play on Good Friday, while Essendon are also believed to be among the contenders.
Brayshaw suggested his club deserved to be rewarded for its patience and pioneering.
“I understand why lots of other clubs are trying to jump the queue because it’s a pretty enticing day,” he said.
“But we’d like to think, for 20 years, we’ve been beating the door down … so we should be at the front of the queue.
“I won’t be particularly happy (if North miss out on Good Friday football), because, as I say – we started the campaign a long time ago.
“We’ll find out how it’s going to play out. But I’m pretty confident that North Melbourne will be involved.”
Demetriou believed it was far too early to make a call on who would be playing in the treasured timeslot.
“I’ve been interested in the commentary this week, about all these clubs who think they lay claim to it – that they asked for it 15 years ago,” he said.
“Someone was announcing that they were definitely playing.
“Those discussions have not even begun.”
Much of the debate has centred on the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal, which Demetriou termed a “very important part of Melbourne’s fabric” in his interview on 3AW.
Brayshaw said the timing of the match would be crucial in regards to the appeal.
Kangaroos defender Scott Thompson and Essendon midfielder David Zaharakis added their voices to the growing players’ push for AFL on Good Friday.
“I reckon it would be great,” Zaharakis said.
“Especially Essendon, who play in such big games all year, to add another to the calendar on Good Friday would be awesome for a player.”
Thompson was of a similar opinion.
“You see it in lots of international sports – the NBA plays on Christmas Day,” he said.
“I think North deserves it. We’ve been fighting hard for it, for 20 years.”