The ANZAC Day clash

The ANZAC Day clash

The Anzac Day clash is an annual Australian rules football match between Australian Football League teams Essendon and Collingwood, held on ANZAC Day (April, 25) at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).cite web | url = | title = Anzac Day – paying respect | date = April 25, 2007 | work = AFL | accessdate = 2008-04-26 ]

History and Background

During many wars, Australian rules football matches have been played overseas in places like northern Africa and Vietnam as a celebration of Australian culture and as a bonding exercise between soldiers. [Australian War Memorial H13624] [Australian War Memorial P00851.009] [Australian War Memorial MEB0068] The first VFL matches played on Anzac Day occurred in 1960; until the mid-1990s it was usual for two matches to be played on the public holiday. [Rodgers, Stephen & Browne, Ashley (1996): "Every Game Ever Played: VFL/AFL results 1897–1995." Penguin-Viking, Melbourne. ISBN 0 670 90794 4. p 441.]

The modern version of the Anzac Day clash was proposed by then Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy, with the match first played in 1995. This game is often considered the biggest match of the AFL season outside of the finals, sometimes drawing bigger crowds than all but the Grand Final, and often selling out in advance.cite web | url = | title = Celebrating the Anzac Day clash | date = April 21, 2004 | work = Essendon FC | accessdate = 2008-04-26 ] [cite web | url = | title = AFL's Anzac clash sold out | work = ABC News Online | date = 11 April, 2006 | accessdate = 2007-05-10 ] In recent years, other clubs have lobbied for the game to be shared amongst all clubs, not just Collingwood and Essendon.cite journal|last=Pascoe|first=Robert|date=May 2007|title=The AFL's ANZAC Day Match|journal=CCL Review|publisher=Victoria University|location=Melbourne, Victoria|volume=1|issue=1|url= |accessdate=2008-09-21] [cite web|url=|title=Anzac Day, an occasion to be shared|last=Lane|first=Tim|date=27 April 2008|work=The Age|accessdate=2008-09-21] Since their inception in 1995, Fremantle has held the Len Hall Tribute Game, named in honour of Western Australia's last Gallipoli veteran, but not always on Anzac Day. [cite web | url = | title = Match Day Info | date =24 April 2008| work =| accessdate = 2008-09-21 ] Melbourne has proposed to hold an Anzac Day match in Canberra in 2009. [cite news |last = Stevens | first = Mark | url =,8659,24222027-23211,00.html | title = Dee's Anzac Day proposal| date =22 August 2008| work = Foxsports| accessdate = 2008-09-21 ] In the National Rugby League, the Sydney Roosters and St. George Illawarra Dragons have played on Anzac Day since 2002, but generally without the increase in crowd numbers compared to other games. [Smith, Warren; [ Dragons and Roosters should forfeit Anzac Day] ; 29 April 2008]

Game day

Before the match, a special ANZAC Day service is held at the MCG. This ceremony includes the recognition of Australian War Veterans as well as a Flag Ceremony, including the Last Post and Australian National Anthem.

For many people this may their closest involvement with ANZAC Day remembrance services. Sydney based journalist and former Australian rugby national representative player Peter FitzSimons commented in the Sydney Morning Herald of the 2008 game that he had:

...rarely seen something so impressive in the world of sport. As they played the "Last Post" and the national anthem, the 100,000-strong crowd ["sic"] uttered not a peep, whispered not a murmur. The atmosphere was electric and the general mood in the air one of reverence for the diggers and anticipation of the game to come...Somewhere, someone has done a superb job organising that landmark day in Australian sport.cite web | url = | title = Tah'd with a new brush - Footy at its purest | date = May 3, 2008 | work = Sydney Morning Herald | accessdate = 2008-05-09 ]

Network Ten currently have the broadcasting rights to the ANZAC Day match. Previously, the Nine Network (2002-2006) and the Seven Network (1995-2001) had the broadcasting rights to the match. Network Ten is likely to have the rights until at least 2010, during which year ANZAC Day falls on a Sunday, which is when the Seven Network is allowed to broadcast its' second assigned match throughout a given round.


A best-on-ground player has been named for each of the Anzac Day clashes. Since 2000 the player in the match considered to best exemplify the ANZAC Spirit - skill, courage, self-sacrifice, teamwork and fair play - has been awarded the AFL "ANZAC Medal". This medal has been won three times by retired Essendon star James Hird, the most of any player.

Match results

(* Capacity of ground reduced due to redevelopment for the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games)

(Note: * signifies 'Best-on-ground' - no official ANZAC Medal awarded until 2000)


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