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Clubs clamour to end the Anzac Day duopoly

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The Secret Agent

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AFL: Anzac Day AFL preview

Michael Gleeson, Greg Baum and Martin Blake preview the Anzac Day blockbuster game between Essendon and Collingwood.

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MICK Malthouse is not the only one who believes the Anzac Day game should be shared around the clubs, rather than giving Essendon and Collingwood a duopoly on the second-biggest day of the season.

Board members of rival AFL clubs, key administrators and players have been discussing whether a performance-based strategy rewarding two clubs with the right to represent the AFL on the historic day would be more appropriate. It is a cash bonanza and there is widespread feeling that the AFL should share the wealth of opportunity among its clubs equally and that Anzac Day would be a good place to start. The Age revealed last week that the AFL had increased costs to clubs across the board in areas as diverse as iPad apps, Brownlow tables and talent pathway fees at a cost of up to $150,000. Clubs are now employing, on average, an extra six people a year, with more resources being spent in development, welfare and player recruitment areas.

But some clubs cannot afford the luxury of spending extra money on development, nor do they command the sponsorship dollars of the big clubs such as Essendon and Collingwood. There is a feeling other clubs would benefit hugely with exposure in the Anzac Day game.

The occasion has escalated considerably from an idea by Kevin Sheedy in his garden during the mid-1990s. Today, both Essendon and Collingwood use this match to increase the value of their sponsorships and corporate packages.

Anzac Day is now a commercial commodity. The event and the occasion are both so grand there is a feeling that 80,000 to 90,000 people would attend the MCG regardless of the two teams participating.

The Community Shield in English soccer, where the winners of the Premier League and FA Cup do battle at Wembley, always draws 90,000 people.

There have been suggestions that the two grand finalists from the previous year do battle, or the premier from the previous year and the winner of the NAB preseason cup. That way the NAB Cup would mean more, increasing crowd numbers, growing the level of interest and encouraging clubs to field stronger sides.

The evolution of the Australian sponsorship market has changed dramatically and there are plenty of players who feel the occasion is now too grand for two clubs to have a duopoly on "owning" the day.

No sport has two clubs that either own a time slot or have an opportunity to hoard major profits like this.

The Secret Agent is one of the AFL's 72 accredited player agents.

48 comments

  • Yawnnnnnn......this again?? Bombers, Pies, full stop. Look forward to the same article next year.

    Commenter
    Cabby
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    April 24, 2012, 9:30AM
    • Good to see that they have blown the dust off this argument and given it another run. Let's give Nth Melbourne and Footscray the game, and see 10 people turn up.
      Essendon and Collingwood are the only two teams that could pull this off each year.

      Commenter
      Barney
      Location
      The Real World
      Date and time
      April 24, 2012, 10:33AM
  • I think removing the Collingwood Essondon monopoly on this day might reduce the amount of offensive talk about teams going into battle, and all the associated nonsense about Mateship, Underdogs and the idea that Australians are the only people on the planet to drink beer. As such, I support it wholeheartedly.

    On the other hand, there are about a dozen serious problems with the draw that need attention before this one.

    Commenter
    Robertito
    Location
    Brisbane
    Date and time
    April 24, 2012, 9:48AM
    • The Game is Essendon and Collingwood and should always be! They made it and they have proven that regardless of their ladder positions it is always a classic encounter. To change it would risk the importance of the event and its subsequent support dropping off? Let other clubs invent some other date? What about a traditional 'do-or-die' Sydney versus Melbourne on Queens Birthday? That has the potential to be like 'State-Of-Origin'? What about Port and Freo playing the battle of the wharfies!! Etc. Etc. Leave Collingwood and Essendon Anzac Day alone.

      Commenter
      melvis
      Location
      darling Harbour
      Date and time
      April 24, 2012, 10:25AM
      • ANZAC day does not belong to any sporting team. It is a day to remember the people who have given their lives for Australia. What I would like to see is the money made on the day be given to Legacy (is a charity providing services to Australian families suffering financially and socially after the death of a spouse or parent, during or after their defence force service).

        Commenter
        john
        Location
        melbourne
        Date and time
        April 24, 2012, 1:06PM
      • @John - I agree with you. Anzac day is a day to honour Aussie and Kiwi diggers who fought for their country. I am a new footy fan who researched about Anzac Day clash. I understand that there is a special service at the MCG before the match. In my perception, this big match is succeeded because Essendon and Collingwood respect diggers. It's sad to hear that many occasions (e.g. Easter, Christmas) become commercial advantages in modern days. I think AFL needs to discuss carefully for this issue. Also can I suggest St Kilda to consider well for playing on Anzac Day in Wellington? But I support Saints for this idea because I have lived in New Zealand for four years and love Wellington.

        Commenter
        Yoshi
        Location
        Japan
        Date and time
        April 24, 2012, 5:23PM
    • Cabby, go to sleep. The ANZAC game should be played between the grand final teams from the previous year. What a load of nonsense that Collingwood and Essendon should keep this fixture just because they started it.Still watching television in black and white Collingwood and Essendon fools?

      Commenter
      Manny
      Location
      willowgrove sth
      Date and time
      April 24, 2012, 10:31AM
      • Manny - I take it you would have shown up on ANZAC Day to see Brisbane v Port (2004)?? How's about Sydney v West Coast (2005 & 2006)?? Maybe 2008 ANZAC Day Geelong v Port would have pulled a crowd after the 100+ shellacking GF of the year before (2007)?

        The money gets shared across all clubs anyway and the Bombers and Pies are two great clubs with rich history, tradition and supporter base who happened to have got there first and made the day their own - why not just leave well enough alone?

        My response to the article was simply an observation that the same article is written every single year.

        Commenter
        Cabby
        Location
        Sydney
        Date and time
        April 24, 2012, 10:52AM
      • This game has now evolved into a tradition; it began with a legendary contest (I was fortunate to be a spectator) and has been reinforced with some great games since.

        Essendon and Collingwood made this game what it is and deserve the reward for their efforts and good fortune.

        Commenter
        Bob
        Location
        Melbourne
        Date and time
        April 24, 2012, 2:10PM
    • Do we have to have this every year. Next year put Footscray v Melbourne or North Melbourne at the G and see how many turn up. The majority of people and the G tomorrow will be Collingwood or Essendon fans not a GF crowd of corporates.
      Wait even better put Port v Freo on!

      Commenter
      AC
      Location
      Collingwood
      Date and time
      April 24, 2012, 10:47AM

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