GOOD Friday football will return to the Ovens and Murray for the first time since 2008 when Lavington takes on Albury under lights in a round 1 blockbuster at Lavington Oval.
After five years of lobbying to have the fixture reinstated, the Panthers were officially granted their wish when the league released its draw yesterday.
North Albury and Wangaratta also asked to host Good Friday matches but were unsuccessful.
Lavington president Peter Barwick said yesterday he believed the footballing community wanted to watch football on the public holiday.
“I think commonsense has prevailed,” Barwick said.
“If we are trying to showcase the league, then this is a good way of doing it.
“Lavington and Albury is a fairly good start to the season under lights on Good Friday I would have thought.”
Lavington and North Albury clashed in front of a big crowd in the league’s last Good Friday match in 2008 while Howlong attracted more than 2500 people when former Brisbane Lions star Daniel Bradshaw lined up for the Spiders against Jindera on the same day earlier this year.
Albury president Gavan Schultz backed the return of the clash.
“If the Ovens and Murray doesn’t play then other leagues will,” Schultz said.
“At the end of the day not all people might like it, but I think we need to be on the front foot as a league,” Schultz said.
“It’s good to be able to work with Lavington and in 2014 it would be good to host it.”
Ovens and Murray operations officer Aaron McGlynn said the clash was part of a huge opening round that included matches over three days including Yarrawonga’s showdown against Wangaratta at Mulwala on Easter Sunday.
“Next year will be the year of the blockbuster,” McGlynn said.
“There will be no bigger games in country football and netball than what the Ovens and Murray Football Netball League has on offer.”