Bombers bounced from Good Friday footy
Essendon has been dumped from Good Friday football.
The Herald Sun can reveal the Bombers have been removed from the 2020 game, with the Western Bulldogs reinstated in their place.
North Melbourne will be handed a fourth consecutive Good Friday encounter when the AFL fixture is unveiled tomorrow.
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The Dogs' return to the marquee slot, which lands on April 10 next year, comes three years after they played the Kangaroos in the inaugural clash in 2017.
The Bulldogs won that riveting game by three points in front of a crowd of 42,814. But they were dumped for St Kilda in 2018 before the Bombers were brought in for 2019.
The North-Saints game drew only 33,966 fans, while the Bombers' thrashing of the Roos this year was witnessed by 48,278.
Dogs president Peter Gordon lashed his club's omission from Good Friday as recently as March this year, telling the Herald Sun the decision "defies logic".
"If you count local derbies as marquee games, there are really only three clubs that don't have any - North Melbourne, St Kilda and the Bulldogs," Gordon said.
"Good Friday was a virgin opportunity to create a blockbuster marquee opportunity and it has been completely squandered for no rational reason at all.
"I had some serious words to say to (AFL chief executive) Gillon McLachlan and (fixture boss) Travis Auld when we were first excluded from it, but I don't think any arguments I can make to the AFL, no matter how rational, are going to be influential in what they choose to do with Good Friday."
Yet the Bulldogs are back for the game in a season that holds much promise for their supporters after a return to finals in 2019.
The game aims to raise money for the Good Friday Appeal and Royal Children's Hospital, with the appeal this year raising more than $18 million.