Even for the neutral observer, the Anzac Day clash is always one of the game’s most exciting spectacles in the calendar year. Since 1995, Essendon and Collingwood are the two clubs that play in the Anzac Day match – the brainchild of AFL great, Kevin Sheedy. For many, the match is more than just footy. However, three-time premiership winning coach, Mick Malthouse, has suggested that the match should be shared between all clubs, instead of being monopolised by Essendon and Collingwood.
No club owns the game
Malthouse has suggested that the AFL could move to a system where each club has a turn playing in the Anzac Day headliner. He believes that the emotion and pride of the day should be shared between all clubs and that the privilege of playing in such an occasion shouldn’t be the custom of just two clubs in the AFL. Malthouse felt as if he had been spoilt by coaching in many Anzac Day clashes, something that he believes all clubs should be able to sample.
AFL is a fan of convention
While sharing the Anzac Day headliner seems more equal and fairer to all constituents of the AFL, the fact of the matter is the AFL body is a fan of convention and tradition. Despite there being a lot of noise about a night Grand Final, nothing has ever eventuated. Likewise, the AFL has persisted with the opening round of the AFL season beginning with Richmond vs Carlton, despite it being a one-sided affair for the most part because of the respective clubs. Likewise, Essendon and Collingwood also boast large fanbases, many of whom are loyal and committed to Anzac Day clashes.