The annual Queen’s Birthday match between Melbourne and Collingwood has been relocated to Sydney’s SCG amid Victoria’s latest COVID-19 restrictions.The match, originally scheduled to take place at the MCG on Monday June 14, will be played in the same 3.20pm AEST timeslot, with ladder leaders Melbourne taking on sixteenth-placed Collingwood.
However, the Big Freeze at the ‘G, the annual fundraising event for FightMND that forms the centerpiece of the Queen’s Birthday match, will remain at the MCG albeit behind closed doors.
The Big Freeze will see local celebrities and sporting identities take the plunge down a specially-made slide into a pool of icy water, to raise much needed funds for FightMND, a charity co-founded by former Essendon player and Melbourne coach Neale Daniher.
With the slide, this year’s sliders and Daniher himself based in Victoria, logistically the event needed to be based in Melbourne to avoid current border restrictions across the country.
Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is a debilitating group of diseases in which nerve cells controlling the muscles that allow individuals to move, speak, swallow and breathe fail. Daniher was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in 2013.
In its six years, Big Freeze at the ‘G has seen dozens of local sporting icons don costumes and take the plunge for the cause.
AFL heroes such as Bob Murphy, Cyril Rioli, Chris Judd and Nick Riewoldt have all taken the plunge in previous years, as have other Australian sporting stars such as Lauren Jackson, Lleyton Hewitt, Adam Gilchrist and Sharelle McMahon. In 2018, all 18 senior coaches tackled the slide before the event in 2020 was cancelled due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
At least ten sliders are set to continue the tradition at the MCG in 2021 which will be beamed into the broadcast of the Melbourne v Collingwood match at the SCG.
This year’s sliders are:
- Former Melbourne and Fremantle player, Jeff 'The Wizard' Farmer
- Melbourne AFLW Captain, Daisy Pearce
- AFL umpire 'Razor' Ray Chamberlain
- 2017 Adelaide Crows AFLW Premiership player, Abbey Holmes
- The 1999 Brownlow Medallist and 2008 Hawthorn Premiership player, Shane Crawford
- Fox Sports presenter, Sarah Jones
- Former Netball and AFLW player and 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Sharni Norder
- Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy
- Former Geelong Cats superstar, Billy Brownless
- Media personality and host of 3AW’s Breakfast with Ross & Russel, Russel Howcroft
- AFL CEO, Gil McLachlan
This year’s Big Freeze match between Melbourne and Collingwood will be broadcast on Channel 7 and Fox Sports and will be available to watch on Kayo.
Support FightMND by purchasing this year’s Very Important Beanie online, or at your local Bunnings or Coles stores.