Good Friday football in 2015 would be played in the afternoon if Channel Seven had its way, but the AFL has suggested that it might be preferable at night.
AFL boss Andrew Demetriou also said there was ”no frontrunner” for the likely Good Friday game next year, as a number of clubs lobby to play in what is seen as a potential blockbuster slot.
”There’s no frontrunner, there’s no low runner, it just hasn’t been discussed,” said Demetriou, who said speculation about teams playing on the day was ”laughable”. ”We’ve heard the arguments … it hasn’t even been canvassed about the sort of teams that should play and should it be an equalisation type thing. This hasn’t been discussed.”
Carlton, North Melbourne and the Bulldogs are pushing to play on Good Friday, while Essendon has been touted as a surprise front-runner to play on the traditionally football-free public holiday.
Demetriou said Good Friday football could be played outside of Victoria – again, because no decision had been reached. ”It could be made an event somewhere else. There’s probably less resistance outside Victoria than there is in Victoria. These things are all discussion points, without any firm view.”
Demetriou did confirm that Channel Seven – which had a long-term tradition of broadcasting the Royal Children’s Hospital Appeal – wanted an afternoon game to fit in with that commitment.
”Channel Seven’s view is that they would like to play this game in the afternoon, and not at night, and that’s not a view that is shared by a lot of people. A lot of people think it should be played at night.”
Demetriou said while Seven was understandably ”respectful” of its association with the children’s hospital, a night game was probably more appealing. ”No, any game that is scheduled is scheduled because of what we think would be the best fit for our spectators and, of course, television. But the thought of a Good Friday game in the afternoon isn’t probably as attractive as a game at night.”
Demetriou, who is stepping down as AFL chief executive this year, added that ”ultimately, it won’t be my decision”, though he would have some input at the executive table and commission.
”But a decision for the long haul will be a decision taken in the long-term, it won’t be a one-year decision.
”There’s no doubt there’s lots of clubs lobbying and we’ve received lots of submissions over the years.”
On other matters, Demetriou said the AFL had anticipated soft crowds in round one, which had rebounded strongly, and would continue to recover. He said television ratings were up 16 per cent on this time last year.
”We’ve bounced back in the next three rounds, we’ll have a good round this week. We’ll pull the crowds back, particularly when you start to see some form sides, like a Geelong-Hawthorn match-up on Monday.
”But it was always going to be a soft start, that part doesn’t surprise us.
Demetriou indicated there would be no special draft assistance for the struggling Brisbane Lions, who faced a ”long haul” to rebuild the club.
”They’ve still got a long haul in front of them. They’ve got to rebuild their list, they’ve got some issues up there with the competition.
”We know where they’re at, we’re not delusional. We’ve got to help them and we’re going to help them.
”The (Lions’) academy will produce players in the next four to five years, but there’s nothing on the drawing board to help any more clubs… helping clubs with draft concessions … we’re trying to move to a system that’s equal for everyone.”