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AFL fixture news: Historic Good Friday double header locked in

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Published by Matt Balmer,21 October 2018 on foxsports.com.au

GOOD Friday football is set to take off in 2019 with the AFL scheduling two matches on April 19.

While the official release of the 2019 AFL fixture will be fully announced on Thursday November 1, clubs have begun unveiling some of their marquee games.

Essendon will be the third club trialled to play North Melbourne in the Good Friday marquee slot, following Western Bulldogs and St Kilda in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

The game will be played at Marvel Stadium at 4.20pm (AEST).

The Round 5 clash will also be a double header, with Port Adelaide travelling to Optus Stadium to face 2018 premiers West Coast — with the match scheduled for 8.10pm (AEST).

“We’ve been passionate about this game for many years and firmly believe that today’s announcement will result in a capacity crowd,” North Melbourne chief executive Carl Dilena said.

“The Bombers are a fantastic result and like us, they just missed out on finals last year. We had a shoot out against them last time we played and it all points to another entertaining game on Good Friday.”

Dilena explained the Roos would work with the Bombers to ensure the focus remains on the kids at the Royal Children’s Hospital and the traditional Good Friday Appeal.

“The past two occasions we’ve been able to strike and maintain a healthy balance and perspective with the sick children and their families very much at the forefront of the day,” Dilena said.

“Football takes a back seat until the ball is bounced, and this game is called Kick for the Kids for a reason; we’ll never lose sight of that.

“We have formed an incredible relationship with the Royal Children’s Hospital and Appeal organisers and will continue to really enhance the messaging and publicity so that we can help break another fundraising record.”

Power chief executive Keith Thomas said the marquee clash against West Coast was an exciting opportunity for the club.

“Playing the reigning premiers West Coast on a standalone Friday night public holiday is an incredible opportunity to showcase our club across the nation,” Thomas said.

“The rivalry now between the clubs is enormous, especially after the two classic games we have played in recent times. Fair to say we hope we are on the winning side this time around.”

Thomas understood there may still be some negativity around the Easter fixture but urged supporters to embrace the positives.

“I’m looking forward to speaking with West Coast CEO Trevor Nisbett as to how we can make this a great event that benefits the broader community through a charitable cause,” he said.

“I understand there may still be some objections to the game on religious grounds but we believe there is general widespread acceptance that people can practice their religious beliefs and also attend or watch a game of footy on TV on Good Friday.

“The AFL, through North Melbourne, have already demonstrated that football on Good Friday can be done in a respectful manner.”

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