By Fraser Walker-Pearce
It is a day steeped in history, mate-ship, remembrance and tradition.
Honouring those who fought for our today is always special for New Zealanders and Australians everywhere — especially if those soldiers were relatives or friends.
The day has always begun with a dawn service, with time to reflect and give thanks to those brave enough to make the ultimate sacrifice all those years ago.
And as time has gone on, sport has begun to celebrate and remember our soldiers in its own way.
Which is why it is fitting that Anzac Day be honoured by some of our sporting heroes taking to the field, to do battle in a way only sportspeople can.
Steeped in tradition of its own, the Collingwood-Essendon match, at the MCG, has been around since 1995, with the Pies taking 13 of 23 meetings, with nine Bombers wins and a draw.
With the Pies on a storming run this season it is hard to look past what would be another memorable win for Collingwood.
After two early losses to open the season, the Pies came back to beat Carlton (not too surprising) and then Adelaide in Adelaide.
Essendon too are fighting fit, and are coming off the back of a huge and potentially unexpected win over Port Adelaide. It will be an intriguing fixture — no question about it.
Also taking place on Anzac Day in the NRL are two matches of historical importance.
The annual Anzac Day match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Sydney Roosters in Sydney, and the New Zealand Warriors playing the Melbourne Storm at AAMI Park.
You can’t look past the Dragons for this one. Sitting comfortably top of the ladder with six wins and a solitary loss, while the Roosters have had a slow start to the year. Even with their huge signings.
The Warriors are another side on a heck of a run. Also six and one from seven games, the Kiwis are soaring after what most had predicted to be another shambolic season at Mount Smart.
If I was a betting man, and I am, I’ll go with history for the AFL. Collingwood to beat Essendon.
And, as all good things do — I’ll change with the times for the NRL, Dragons and Warriors to win. But maybe that’s just the hopeful Kiwi in me.