Around this time every year, football fans everywhere sigh. A staple of the wonderful period from March until September is Friday night footy and has been since North Melbourne established the idea in 1985.
However, as this week rolls around, football fans across the country are left unsatisfied with Good Friday lacking something that would make it great.
According to the 2011 Census, 61.1% of the Australian population stated a connection with a Christian religion. Whilst that is a hefty majority of the national population, one must wonder whether all 61% of the Christians in Australia would be aghast if the AFL attempted to play a match on Good Friday.
For years, the AFL and chief executive Andrew Demetriou have remained steadfast in opposition to the notion of Good Friday footy and that is highly unlikely to change anytime soon. However, the AFL has helped define ANZAC Day with the annual blockbuster and Good Friday presents a perfect opportunity to add to the AFL’s growing list of must-watch games.
It would be simple for the AFL’s Good Friday match to link in with the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal. Half the profits from the tickets go towards the Good Friday Appeal, as well as donating for every goal scored. This ensures that the AFL has a purpose to go forward with matches on Good Friday with a greater motive at hand.
In fact, if there is going to be football on Good Friday, it could be made similar to ANZAC Day and be exclusive to two teams. Imagine if on every Good Friday St Kilda takes on Melbourne at the MCG – the classic battle between Saints and Demons every year. Nothing could possibly be more fitting.
In fact, the AFL can help revolutionise every holiday; on top of the traditional Collingwood vs. Essendon game on ANZAC Day, we could see more yearly games scheduled.
The AFL doesn’t even have to limit itself to the regular season. One-off games every New Year’s Eve or on Australia Day could help get fans up and about for the new season ahead.
Debate rages about Good Friday every year, however, it is becoming apparent that under Demetriou’s control, the AFL will not have a game of football on Good Friday. However, when Demetriou steps aside, there is an opportunity for his successor to expand the game and create a new tradition. Demetriou’s successor will have the opportunity to make Good Friday great.