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Good Friday footy arrives: Roos to host Dogs in 2017

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 06: Jed Anderson of the Kangaroos attempts to mark over Jason Johannisen of the Bulldogs during the 2016 AFL Round 20 match between the Western Bulldogs and the North Melbourne Kangaroos at Etihad Stadium on August 06, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
The Roos and Dogs will play on Good Friday next year

NORTH Melbourne's push for Good Friday football has finally been rewarded with the club to make history when it hosts the Western Bulldogs on the religious holiday in 2017.

The round four clash at Etihad Stadium will start at 4.20pm with the League already in talks with the Royal Children's Hospital and its broadcasters about how the game could help promote the Good Friday Appeal.

AFL general manager of clubs and operations Travis Auld said the twilight timeslot was chosen to ensure it did not conflict with major Good Friday afternoon services on 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."

The AFL Commission actually green-lighted Good Friday football in 2014, but it took the executive until now to schedule the game. North has long been on the lookout for a marquee match of its own and should expect to hang the 'Full House' sign outside Etihad Stadium when it hosts this year's premiers.

The two clubs attracted a healthy 47,622 fans to a regular Friday night game at Etihad in round six this year.

“We’re absolutely thrilled by the announcement,” North Melbourne chief executive Carl 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.”

But it may not be a permanent arrangement for the Kangaroos, with the AFL confirming that the Good Friday teams and locations could change beyond 2017.

"The AFL acknowledges the requests from a number of clubs to play on Good Friday and we will consider the appropriate match-up and venue on a year-to-year basis," Auld said.

The AFL will release the full fixture for 2017 on Thursday.