For the past 24 years, fans of Collingwood and Essendon have filled the MCG on ANZAC Day not just to watch their teams in action, but also to pay tribute to those who have served their country.The 2019 match will be the 25th encounter between the two clubs on this sacred day which, outside the Grand Final, has become the biggest event of the AFL season.
What’s now become the annual ANZAC Day match was the brainchild of legendary Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy – and the first clash back in 1995 was a classic.
A crowd of 94,825 – the second biggest home-and-away crowd in VFL/AFL history – saw the two clubs play out a thrilling draw dominated by a nine-goal haul by Magpies full-forward Sav Rocca, which is still the record for the most goals kicked by an individual on Anzac Day.
Collingwood has dominated the occasion, winning 14 of the 24 matches. The Magpies have averaged 96.96 points per contest – kicking a combined total of 334.323 (2004) - compared to 88.25 points per game – 303.300 (1818) - by the Bombers.
An aggregate 2,027,314 fans have attended the contests at an average of 84,471 with seven times the crowd exceeding 90,000.
The smallest crowd of 57,294 came in 2004 when the Ponsford, Members and Olympic Stands were in the early stages of redevelopment.
A perpetual ANZAC Day Trophy was presented for the first time in 2000 along with the ANZAC Day Medal. Essendon captain James Hird was the first recipient of the medal, while in 2011, retrospective ANZAC Day Medals were awarded for games played between 1995 and 1999.
Facts from ANZAC Day clashes:
Most Anzac Day matches (as a player)
18 - Dustin Fletcher (Essendon)|
Most Anzac Day matches (as a coach)
13 – Kevin Sheedy (Essendon)
12 – Mick Malthouse (Collingwood)
Most Anzac Day goals overall
36 – Matthew Lloyd (Essendon)
23.16 (154) by Collingwood in 2008
4.9 (33) by Essendon in 2002
Greatest winning margin
73 points by Collingwood in 2008
Smallest winning margin
1 point by Collingwood in 2012
Most Anzac Day Medals
3 - James Hird (Essendon) 2000, 2003, 2004
Most Brownlow Medal votes from Anzac Day matches
12 – Scott Pendlebury (Collingwood) and James Hird (Essendon)
Represented both clubs on Anzac Day
Andrew Ukovic (Essendon 1998, Collingwood 2000)
Scott Cummings (Essendon 1996, Collingwood 2002)
Blake Caracella (Essendon 1997-2002, Collingwood 2005)
Mal Michael (Collingwood 1998, Essendon 2007-08)
* Mark Neeld was involved on the coaching panels of both clubs, between 2008-2011 at Collingwood and 2015-2016 with Essendon.