The 2021 big finalist is ruled out of the AFL’s Good Friday game despite back-to-back beltings in North Melbourne

The Western Bulldogs reportedly received the boot from the AFL’s Good Friday game.

The 2021 Grand Finalist played at Marvel Stadium this year and crushed basement dweller North Melbourne by more than 10 goals.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Max King’s injury explained, dogs dumped from Good Friday.

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That beating came after the utter carnage of 2021 when the Bulldogs demolished North Melbourne by 128 points on Good Friday.

In that one-sided affair, Dogs spearhead Josh Bruce scored 10 goals while the entire North Melbourne team scored just five.

Bailey Smith and Jy Simpkin in action during their Good Friday 2022 clash at Marvel Stadium in April. Recognition: Getty Images

There have since been calls for North Melbourne to be removed from the marquee to attract larger crowds, but according to News Corp, the Bulldogs are the sacrificial lamb.

Carlton – with his large supporter base – was called upon to help save the game and draw a large crowd.

The Blues endured a wild ride in 2022 under coach Michael Voss, spending the entire season in the round of 16 but falling out in the very last game and missing out on finals action.

However, the Blues are predicted to be chasing finals again in 2023 and – having smashed their membership record with a whopping 88,776 signatures in 2022 – fans are expected to follow in droves.

Carlton finished fourth overall on the 2022 membership list, with North Melbourne (50,191) and the Western Bulldogs (50,941) finishing 15th and 14th, respectively.

The AFL didn’t play any games on Good Friday but that changed after a big push from north Melbourne. The first Good Friday game was in 2017, also between North and the Bulldogs.

Answering questions about the club’s ownership of the game in October this year, outgoing CEO Ben Amarfio said he understands why people are asking.

“We get that (given people ask) where we are in our rebuild cycle and performance. But we obviously plan to be a more competitive team next season and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t put in a really good performance,” Amarfio told The Age.

“We also want to reach out to the children. We think it’s an opportunity to increase our attractiveness to the youth of our club. It has been a very successful boost for us in terms of membership growth.

“We’ve obviously played the Dogs in recent years but I’m also aware that our biggest crowd we’ve ever had (on Good Friday) was against Essendon, over 40,000. It’s up to the AFL which way they go.”

Last week, the AFL unveiled its full first-round game, which opens with a blockbuster between Richmond and Carlton on Thursday, followed by another smasher on Friday between Collingwood and Geelong.

Melbourne will play the Bulldogs at the MCG on Saturday night in what is a repeat of the 2021 grand final.

Complete game of round 1

Thursday March 16th

Richmond v Carlton, MCG, 7:20 p.m. AEDT, seven

Friday March 17th

Geelong v Collingwood, MCG, 7.40pm AEDT, Seven

Saturday March 18th

North Melbourne-West Coast, Marvel Stadium, 1.45pm AEDT, Fox

Port Adelaide – Brisbane, Adelaide Oval, 4.05pm ACDT, Fox

Melbourne v Western Bulldogs, MCG, 7.25pm ​​AEDT, seven

Gold Coast v Sydney, Metricon Stadium, 7pm AEST, Fox

Sunday March 19th

Greater Western Sydney – Adelaide, Giants Stadium, 1:10pm AEDT, Fox

Hawthorn v Essendon, MCG, 3.20pm AEDT, seven

St Kilda v Fremantle, Marvel Stadium, 4.40pm AEDT, Fox

The AFL’s blockbuster games to kick off the 2023 season

The AFL’s blockbuster games to kick off the 2023 season The 2021 big finalist is ruled out of the AFL’s Good Friday game despite back-to-back beltings in North Melbourne

James Brien

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