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West Coast Eagles set for more Good Friday footy

West Coast are a strong chance to lock themselves in as a permanent host for Good Friday matches, given Perth’s suitable time zone in relation to Melbourne.

The Eagles had been eager to secure a marquee event on their schedule and will take on Port Adelaide at Optus Stadium in the second leg of an historic Good Friday double-header next year.

As revealed by The West Australian on Tuesday, it will follow a North Melbourne-Essendon clash at Marvel Stadium.

Good Friday falls on April 19 next year and will be part of an 11-day footy feast over rounds five and six, which cover the Easter and Anzac Day periods.

Matches will be played on 10 of the days during that time.

AFL fixtures boss Travis Auld said the league needed to pay respect to the religious holiday and had accordingly scheduled matches to begin after 4pm in their local time zones.

He said that had played perfectly into West Coast’s hands.

“It worked in terms of the second one being out of Perth, where the timing works quite well,” Auld said at the unveiling of the full 2019 fixture in Melbourne on Thursday.

“Talking to those clubs, in particular the Eagles, they’re quite excited about that opportunity.”

North Melbourne were rewarded for their persistence in chasing a Good Friday match when awarded hosting rights in 2017.

The drew a strong crowd of almost 43,000 against the Bulldogs that year, however, it dipped to fewer than 34,000 against St Kilda last season.

As a result, traditional powerhouse Essendon was brought in to boost public interest in Victoria and ensure a bumper crowd.

Auld predicted the match would sell out the 56,000-capacity Marvel Stadium.

The Bulldogs remain interested in returning to the Good Friday schedule, but the league will consider giving 2019 participants the chance to build momentum with the fixtures.

“We need to make a decision about whether, at some stage, we lock in the two teams for a period of time – three to five years – and give it a go,” Auld said.

“That’s a conversation we’ll have after this has all settled down.”

West Coast are certain to draw a big crowd to Optus Stadium for the Port Adelaide clash after averaging 54,226 fans in 13 home games at the new $1.5 billion Burswood venue on their way to last season’s premiership.

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