North Melbourne coach Brad Scott has urged the AFL to give the Kangaroos more time to develop their Good Friday game.
The league has not guaranteed the Roos will keep their new blockbuster game after just 33,966 people attended this year’s instalment against St Kilda at Etihad Stadium, a match North won by 52 points despite a scrappy first half.
It was just the second year of Good Friday football, with North and the Bulldogs – then the reigning premiers – drawing 42,814 to Docklands in 2017.
Scott said North needed time to help establish a tradition, arguing the case for his club to keep the game rather than have it be shared around, perhaps given to strongly-performed teams each year.
“We’ve worked for about 30 years on the opportunity to play on Good Friday, and the club’s done a power of work, both in campaigning for the game, and then in doing a lot of work to make sure that we build our partnership with the Royal Children’s Hospital, to make it a big event,” Scott said on Wednesday at Arden Street.
“We’d certainly relish the opportunity to continue to build on that tradition. And it takes time to build up a big marquee game.
“I know the quality of the football in the first half wasn’t what either team would have liked, but I was really happy with our players’ response in the second half. I’m sure all North Melbourne fans were really pleased with the standard of footy they saw in the second half.”
He noted that the crowd probably would have been bigger if North had been up against a higher-profile opponent like Richmond, suggesting that he wasn’t overly fussed who the Roos play in the match going forward, as long as North are involved.
“We’re talking about building a tradition.I know a lot of my family and friends went on holiday on Thursday night, and they’re either down the beach, interstate, they’re on holidays on Good Friday,” Scott said.
“We need time to indoctrinate North Melbourne people to the fact that you stay in Melbourne on Good Friday, you go come to the footy and then you go away on Friday night.”
The Roos (1-1) take on Melbourne at the MCG this Saturday. Remarkably North are vying for their 18th straight win against the Dees, having won every clash between the club for premiership points since 2007.
However Scott downplayed the importance of history in this instance.
“It’s so irrelevant now that it just has no impact on Saturday’s result. But I understand the interest,” he said.
Scott said Majak Daw was closing in on a senior recall after a dominant showing in a VFL practice match against Collingwood on the weekend.
“He probably had his best game for North Melbourne in any position, whether it be VFL or AFL,” Scott said.
However the coach said untested youngster Paul Ahern remains a few weeks away from senior selection.
Injury-prone forward Taylor Garner is still one to two weeks away from playing as the club takes a cautious approach to his groin complaint. A similar philosophy has been implemented in the management of Kyron Hayden (shoulder), who is listed as two to three weeks away.
Ben Cunnington, Trent Dumont and Billy Hartung were all running laps as the main group trained, but Scott suggested Cunnington was OK despite having a hip issue against the Saints.
Meanwhile, on the back of news that Melbourne would follow the Kangaroos by moving away from pokies as a source of revenue, Scott said he would like all clubs to do the same.