The AFL will soon break its last great scheduling taboo by playing on Good Friday.
The league is experimenting with Thursday and Saturday night matches next season and deputy chief executive Gillon McLachlan concedes Good Friday is the final frontier, perhaps as early as 2015.
While the NRL has played on Good Friday for several seasons, AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou has led strong opposition to the concept.
But clubs such as North Melbourne have been keen to trial a charity match on the Easter holiday.
The strident opposition to the idea is softening and McLachlan said the AFL Commission had discussed the idea extensively.
Asked if Good Friday was inevitable for the 2015 fixture, McLachlan replied: "inevitability means certainty - there is gathering momentum.
"It's probably a 50-50 bet (for 2015).
"If we did it in 2015, we need ... a proper, respectful consultation with the stakeholders."
McLachlan also indicated Demetriou was no longer strongly opposed to the idea.
"He's mellowing, he's softening, he's like a good wine," Lachlan joked.
North chairman James Brayshaw made it clear that once Good Friday is on the fixture, they expect to be involved.
"That means it will happen and North Melbourne will definitely play in it," he said with a smile.
"Not that I've had that guaranteed ... I'm just telling you now."
North and Carlton, who have headquarters near the Royal Children's Hospital, want to play a game which would be a fundraiser for its Good Friday appeal.
"The idea was to play a twilight game on Good Friday and then the winning coach and captain ... go into the telethon that night and hand over $100,000," Brayshaw said.
The 2014 fixture, announced on Thursday, features:
- Six Thursday night and six Sunday night matches.
- Teams split into three groups of six, based on this season's ladder positions. This new weighting system helps determine which opponents each team play twice, with more games against sides in their group.
The goal is to make the fixture more even.
- Third-placed Geelong playing no team in the bottom six twice and the Western Bulldogs (15th) playing no team in the top six twice.
AFL scheduling manager Simon Lethlean has described them as outliers in the weighting system.
- Carlton not suffering too harsh a penalty for finishing sixth.
They were originally ninth, but took Essendon's place in the finals and then beat Richmond in an elimination final.
They have the same combination of games as Essendon (ninth) - playing two top-six teams twice, two middle-six teams twice and once against a bottom-six club.
- Alice Springs hosts a regular-season match for the first time, when Melbourne play Port Adelaide in round 16.
- Indigenous round (round 11) will open with St Kilda playing Collingwood in a tribute to Saints star Nicky Winmar.
- Anzac Day is on a Friday and will feature three games - the traditional Collingwood v Essendon match, St Kilda v Brisbane in Wellington and Fremantle v North Melbourne in the Dockers' annual Len Hall match.
- Star Sydney recruit Lance Franklin is scheduled to play against his old side Hawthorn in round eight. Similarly, Carlton's Dale Thomas could face his old club Collingwood in round seven.
- The season starts on March 14, with round one split over two weekends.
- Grand finalists Hawthorn and Fremantle clash in round three, a Friday night blockbuster at the MCG.
- As expected, the old pre-season cup format will be scrapped. Instead, each team will play two games over an 18-day period from February 12 to March 1.
- No Friday night games for Melbourne, Gold Coast, Greater Western Sydney or the Western Bulldogs.
- The floating round 23 schedule features West Coast having an away day game against Gold Coast.