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Lew Review: AFL faces big question for public holiday games

Post-Match with Eddie A few of the boys including Brisbane's Charlie Cameron and Mitch Robinson speaks about the great Eddie Betts.

The AFL is at a crossroads with the marquee holiday games.

The question continues to be asked why different clubs aren’t given a go for these blockbuster timeslots.

Anzac Day between Collingwood and Essendon, I have no issue with that.

It creates a brilliant way to celebrate what is such an important day, it’s the exception to the blockbuster law, not to mention the efforts of Leigh Matthews to make it happen.

Then you’ve got games like Geelong and Hawthorn on Easter Monday, which build themselves organically, very deserving of a place.

North Melbourne seems to have a stranglehold on Good Friday, but I think that’s deserving, they pioneered Friday night football back in the 1980s.

Attendance numbers are mixed, however three years is far too short a sample size to boot the Kangaroos out of the time slot.

But games like Melbourne vs Collingwood on the Queen’s Birthday weekend, would anyone actually associate the matchup to the pairs’ fierce rivalry from 60-odd years ago? This generation probably wouldn’t.

And here we are at the crossroads for the AFL: either educate the fans about why the games are important, or change it.

On the weekend, Geelong coach Chris Scott showed past footage of games between the Cats and Hawthorn and explained why it was important.

If the AFL doesn’t go about it the same way, bigger interstate clubs like Adelaide or Sydney or West Coast will have every right to ask why they can’t get a crack.

The AFL needs to start making fans aware of why games have significance… educate or change.

And while they’re at it, the AFL should look at other regularly scheduled matches such as Richmond and Carlton on opening night.

It’s a great rivalry, but until Carlton prove they are back, we don’t really need them.

I love the game being on a Thursday night, but should it be Richmond? Should it be Carlton? Should it be the Grand Final rematch?

The AFL is obviously trying to kick attendance off on a big note with two huge clubs that guarantee 85,000 people.

But why is it a numbers game as opposed to what’s the best spectacle we can put on the ground?

Eddie Betts was absolutely outstanding on Sunday in his 300th game, a joy to watch, who wouldn’t want to see that performance in the opening fixture? Or the Good Friday match against North Melbourne?

One other gripe, the AFL needs to tone down its emphasis on themed rounds.

Let the footy do the talking and things can build organically like the Geelong and Hawthorn fixture, a natural event that becomes a regular blockbuster.

When you play god by creating rivalries or lean on derby matches for traction, you can set yourself up for failure.

Dale Lewis is the co-host of Triple M’s The Rush Hour with Jars & Louie, weekdays from 3-4pm and 6-7pm.

Lewis played 182 games for the Sydney Swans between 1990 and 2001.