AFL Riverina will begin canvassing the possibility of scheduling and hosting Good Friday fixtures for the upcoming Riverina League and Farrer League seasons.
The announcement comes in tandem with the release of AFL Riverina’s key dates for 2019, which stipulates an early return to competition next year.
Round one of Farrer League action is scheduled for April 9 with the Riverina League’s opening round set for April 13, while grand final day will fall on September 14 and September 21 for Farrer League and Riverina League respectively.
The proposed competition schedules also incorporate general byes on April 20 and May 18 to accommodate for Easter holidays and representative football, however, the potential for Good Friday fixtures could fast become a drawcard for clubs.
“We’ve gone through the processes with the clubs as we always do to and presented five options to consider, which included a survey about consideration for playing dates and games,” AFL Riverina football operations manager Shane Buchanan said.
Good Friday fixtures are something we can certainly consider for next year.AFL Riverina football operations manager Shane Buchanan
“We’ll be starting a week early as well but that’s just in line with where Easter falls.
“The good thing is that we’ve firmed on an option now and we’ve got those dates locked down ... so Good Friday fixtures are something we can certainly consider for next year.”
Buchanan said “some clubs” had already expressed interest in participating in a Good Friday clash and said it was an “exciting possibility” for the region.
“It really just comes down to seeing if we can coordinate play on the day.”
“There’s a few clubs who are keen, so we’ll just see where it takes us.”
AFL Riverina is also looking to finalise its representative program for 2019 and it appears as though another Riverina-Farrer showdown won’t be going ahead.
Buchanan confirmed the governing body was working with “a number of interested leagues” to play the Riverina FNL and Farrer FNL respectively with a likely playing date of May 18.
This year’s Riverina-Farrer resurrection highlighted a gulf between the two leagues after Riverina FNL swept their Farrer FNL rivals in all four games of opens and under 17s football and netball.
Most notable was the 85-point win to Riverina FNL in the opens football, prompting then-Riverina coach Guy Orton to challenge the need for another bout.
The return of the Riverina-Farrer rivalry nevertheless attracted a big crowd to Robertson Oval with a healthy gate of $5394 recorded.
AFL Riverina’s decision to explore new representative rivals could open up the possibility of playing against a combined Central West NSW side or even a Canberra outfit.
AFL Riverina junior 2019 season dates for the South West JFNL and the Wagga & District JFNL are yet to be released.