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Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Full-on Good Friday footy feast

There's plenty for football and netball fans today with Goulburn Valley and Murray leagues hosting day and nights matches.

DAMEN FRANCIS April 18, 2014 3:10am

The merits of Good Friday football remains a hot topic for the AFL, but it has become one of the biggest days on the country football and netball calendar.

Fourteen Goulburn Murray clubs — eight Murray Football League and six Goulburn Valley Football League — will participate in games today, in what many hope will be one of, if not the most profitable days of the year.

Debate continues to rage as to whether the AFL should or will schedule a game on a day that has to this point never hosted a match, but AFL Goulburn Murray general manager Martin Gleeson said regional clubs would be happy if it didn’t.

‘‘I think it probably will happen, there seems to be enough ground swell among the clubs and at the end of the day, the public will vote with their feet if it goes ahead,’’ Gleeson said.

‘‘Putting your country hat on, not having AFL on that day means more people go to the local football.

‘‘It’s a long weekend, people are in a festive mood and we like to see people going along to support local football.’’

Friday football is popular for many clubs, because it allows players and volunteers a free weekend — a rarity during the winter.

Friday night football is an option, but logistically it’s a challenge due to work commitments of players and club volunteers.

Profit does not always equate to atmosphere, but the bumper crowds some clubs have been able to attract in recent seasons has been notable.

Rumbalara is one club looking to get in on the Good Friday act, with playing coach Damian Cupido saying the club wants to make it an annual event.

Rumba played away against Mulwala on Easter Saturday last year, but this year host Numurkah in a stand-alone MFL Good Friday game at 5.10pm.

Last year Euroa hosted a Good Friday night match at Memorial Oval, offering two barbecues — one traditional and one vegetarian — to cater for all spectators and attracted one of its best crowds of the season.

Whether you agree with playing sport on Good Friday or not, the appetite is clearly there among regional communities and who can blame clubs for making the most of a gap in the increasingly packed AFL calendar.

GOOD FRIDAY FOOTY-NETBALL FEAST

GVFNL

Main game 2pm: Benalla v Euroa at Benalla Showgrounds

7pm: Shepparton United v Shepparton at Deakin Reserve

7pm: Kyabram v Rochester at Kyabram Recreation Reserve

MFNL

Main game 2.10pm: Barooga v Cobram at Barooga Recreation Reserve

2.10pm: Echuca United v Moama at Echuca South Recreation Reserve

2.10pm: Nathalia v Tongala at Nathalia Recreation Reserve

5.10pm: Rumbalara v Numurkah at Mercury Drive Sports Complex. 98.5 One FM broadcast game

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