St Kilda played on Good Friday in 2018 in what was a disappointing game that drew only 33,966, and were replaced by the heavily followed Bombers, who helped North attract a near-capacity crowd of 48,278, easily the best on Good Friday. St Kilda, Essendon, the Dogs and Carlton have all had an interest in Good Friday.
But the AFL has gone back to the Bulldogs in 2020, having no set position except that North is the anchor of that game. The AFL will consider whether to settle another team in the slot or continue to vary North’s opponent year on year.
Sources with a knowledge of the fixture said the Bulldogs, who finished the home and away season strongly, charging to the finals and are seen to have fared well in the trading period, have at least four Friday night games next year.
They begin the season hosting Collingwood on Friday night in the second match of the season, after the Richmond-Carlton opener on Thursday of round one.
The North Melbourne-Bulldogs game will be the first of two matches on Good Friday, with Port Adelaide hosting West Coast in the evening on that day. The Marvel clubs will work with Channel Seven’s Good Friday appeal. The AFL’s 2020 season fixture will be released on Thursday.