ANZAC Day is a big day in Australia, not just to honour the nation’s fallen soldiers. One of the biggest matches of the AFL season is also played on this day. Traditionally held on April 25 each year, the clash sees Melbourne rivals Essendon and Collingwood battle it out in front of a packed house at the MCG. The modern version of the ANZAC Day clash was coined by former Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy in the mid-90’s while working in his garden. Sheedy, one of the most respected figures in the sport, met with former Victorian RSL president and Collingwood fan Bruce Ruxton, along with the AFL, to share his concept. His vision was well received by all parties, and the first instalment of the Collingwood/Essendon ANZAC Day clash followed in 1995.
The inaugural showdown ended in a gripping draw (111-111). Since then, the Magpies have gone on to win 11 times, the Bombers eight. Former Essendon fullback, Dustin Fletcher, has featured in the most ANZAC Day clashes, appearing 16 times. Former Collingwood star Sav Rocca, who moved to the NFL as a punter, has the record for most goals in a game. Rocca booted a nine-goal haul in the first ANZAC Day clash between these two teams, and his performance that day earned him the first of his two ANZAC Medals.
The ANZAC Medal is awarded to the B.O.G (Best on Ground). No one has won the award more times than Essendon great James Hird, who was named ANZAC Medallist on three occasions in 2000, 2003 and 2004. Other multiple winners include Sav Rocca (1995, 1998), Scott Pendlebury (2010, 2011) and Dane Swan (2012, 2014). Attendances in recent times generally produce numbers around the 90,000 mark, making it one of the MCG's premier events.
|YEAR||WINNER||SCORE||ANZAC DAY MEDALIST|
|2015||COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES||69-49||PAUL SEEDSMAN|
|2014||COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES||83-60||DAVID ZAHARAKIS|
|2013||ESSENDON BOMBERS||121-75||DANE SWAN|
|2012||COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES||80-79||SCOTT PENDLEBURY|
|2011||COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES||107-77||SCOTT PENDLEBURY|
|2010||COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES||120-55||PADDY RYDER|
|2009||ESSENDON BOMBERS||93-88||PAUL MEDHURST|
|2008||COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES||154-81||HEATH SHAW|
|2007||COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES||95-79||BEN JOHNSON|
|2006||COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES||106-89||ANDREW LOVETT|