VRC recreates iconic football match that launched the Good Friday Appeal

31 October 2023 Written by VRC

With just over one week until Kennedy Oaks Day, the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) has today recreated the iconic football matched that launched new community partner The Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal.

When the Children’s Hospital was at risk of closure in the early 1930s, a group of local journalists banded together to host a football match between jockeys from Flemington and Caulfield which raised £427 for the hospital.  

Today’s event saw 20 racing, sporting and media identities unite to play in the inaugural modern day celebrity footy match, to raise awareness and funds for the Appeal.  

It was a head-to-head rivalry for AFLW superstar sisters, Jess and Sarah Hosking, who coached the White and Purple teams respectively.  

A total of 14 goals were scored in the match, directly raising $7,000 for the Good Friday Appeal with $500 per goal generously donated by 3AW.  

Highlights of the match included goals by current jockey Ben Allen who swapped the saddle for football boots; former AFL players, Brodie Holland, Campbell Brown and Brad Green proved they’re still in form on the field, kicking six goals between them; and former Melbourne Victory superstar, Archie Thompson showed off his post goal celebrations in the goal square.   

Also lacing up today were Brit Selwood, Elle Baillieu, Amy Pejkovic and Rob Mills, who was fresh from performing &Juliet in Singapore and showed his off-stage prowess on the field. Royal Children’s Hospital patients, Poppy and Hannah also took part with Poppy kicking the opening goal for her team.  

VRC Chief Executive Officer Steve Rosich said the club was thrilled to recreate the football match that started the Good Friday Appeal 92 years ago.  

“The origin story of the Good Friday Appeal is so closely tied to racing and the VRC, and we are delighted to re-enact it this year with the support of so many of our friends in racing, sports and media,” Mr Rosich said. 

“Kennedy Oaks Day is one of the great days on the Australian racing calendar, with elegant fashion, amazing entertainment and fantastic sporting action. This new collaboration with the Good Friday Appeal adds an additional layer of community spirit to the race day that we believe will be appreciated and supported by everyone who attends. 

“Seeing is believing, so we encourage every Melburnian to get themselves to Flemington next Thursday and be part of the magic, enjoying a stellar day of racing, business and fashion, all while supporting a great cause.” 

Executive Director of the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal Rebecca Cowan was also at Flemington to witness the historic recreation of the footy match.  

“It was really special to be here at Flemington to see the Appeal return to its roots and we can’t wait for next Thursday to be part of all the celebrations that are planned.” 

“We hope that everyone coming to Kennedy Oaks Day next week will have a fantastic experience at Flemington while leaning into the Appeal, as we strive to raise even more funds in 2024 and beyond,” Mrs Cowan said. 

Kennedy Oaks Day will see a reverse guard of honour created in the Mounting Yard by racing participants for the arrival of special guests from the Good Friday Appeal community, in what will be an uplifting start to the day. 

Racegoers are also being encouraged to wear a touch of purple and take the opportunity to donate to the Appeal, making Kennedy Oaks Day A Great Thursday for the Good Friday Appeal, while jockeys in the Good Friday Appeal Trophy will wear purple breeches. 

The VRC will also contribute $1 from the sale of every ‘1861’ cocktail on Kennedy Oaks Day, with the new concoction set to feature a purple flower as a nod to the colour theme of the day.  

The Good Friday Appeal has become an iconic feature of Melbourne and has raised an incredible $444 million over the past 92 years, with all funds raised going directly to The Royal Children’s Hospital to provide world class care for all Victorian families as well as those across Australia and around the world.  

All proceeds raised by the Good Friday Appeal support The Royal Children’s Hospital’s ground-breaking research, state of the art equipment and technology, and family centred care programs while also attracting and retaining the brightest minds.  

Tickets to Kennedy Oaks Day can be purchased via starting at $60. 

The 2023 Melbourne Cup Carnival begins with Penfolds Victoria Derby Day on Saturday 4 November followed by Lexus Melbourne Cup Day on Tuesday 7 November, Kennedy Oaks Day on Thursday 9 November and TAB Champions Stakes Day on Saturday 11 November.