There are many ways Australians and New Zealanders remember those who fought for their country: light a candle, pin a poppy, a minute's silence, share a schooner with a Digger, have a punt playing two-up - then cheer like mad at an Anzac Day sporting clash.
With the Anzac
Day centenary falling on a Saturday, national sporting codes have put
on a smorgasbord of sport to ensure fans will be glued to the action
from shortly after dawn until well past dusk.
The AFL and NRL are
hosting a combined 10 matches - including two traditional Anzac Day
clashes - across nine cities in Australia and New Zealand.
Rugby is throwing an Anzac round, horseracing events will go ahead at
Royal Randwick and Flemington, while the ANZ Championship has put on a
trans-tasman netball clash.
MAJOR SPORTING EVENTS TO TAKE PLACE DURING ANZAC DAY CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
* AFL: ESSENDON VS COLLINGWOOD - MCG, Melbourne, 2.40pm AEST
traditional Anzac Day match between two of the league's biggest clubs
is a diamond of the AFL calendar. It regularly draws more than 90,000
fans to the Melbourne Cricket Ground, where a war veteran's motorcade,
the national anthem and the Last Post are part of proceedings. The event
was introduced in its modern form in 1996 by then Essendon coach Kevin
Sheedy, who envisioned an annual commemorative clash between the Bombers
and the Pies. The player judged best afield each year is awarded the
AFL Anzac Medal.
* NRL: ROOSTERS VS DRAGONS - Allianz Stadium, Sydney, 4.00pm AEST
Sydney Roosters and St George Illawarra have gone head-to-head for the
NRL Anzac Day Cup each year since 2002. The clash has become an annual
highlight of the league season, with commemorative pre-game ceremonies
and a minute's silence. The Dragons hold the edge in the Cup so far with
eight wins to the Roosters' five. The match will be one of five NRL
fixtures held on Saturday.
* AFL: ST KILDA VS CARLTON - Wellington, Westpac Stadium, 1.10pm NZST
rules football has been played in New Zealand in recent years to honour
the Anzac bond between the two nations. This special clash is hosted by
St Kilda, who in 2013 battled Sydney in the first game played outside
Australia for premiership points. The Saints met Brisbane in 2014 and
face Carlton this year, but the `home' side are yet to win in
* NRL: WARRIORS VS TITANS - Auckland, Mt Smart Stadium, 11.45am NZST
Warriors will host the Gold Coast in the first ever NRL Anzac Day clash
in New Zealand to commemorate former servicemen and women. In recent
seasons the Warriors have met the Storm in Melbourne on Anzac Day but on
Saturday the battle will be across the Tasman in Auckland.
SUPER RUGBY - Super Rugby is holding an Anzac Round across Australia and
New Zealand to commemorate the centenary. In a first for Super Rugby,
the national anthems of both countries will be sung at each match, along
with renditions of the Last Post and the Ode. Anzac Day games include
Waratahs vs Rebels at ANZ Stadium in Sydney (7.40pm) and Crusaders vs
Blues at AMI Stadium in Christchurch (7.40pm).
* HORSERACING -
Plenty of weekend horse races will be run across Australia on Anzac Day.
In NSW alone there are 10 meetings, including an eight-race meet at
Sydney's Royal Randwick with free entry for war veterans. Flemington in
Melbourne hosts a commemorative war exhibition at its Anzac Day racing,
where the $200,000 VRC St Leger and the Anzac Day Stakes will be run.
* NETBALL: SWIFTS VS PULSE - Wellington, TSB Bank Arena, 4.10pm NZST
The Mojo Pulse will host the Sydney Swifts in Wellington in a trans-tasman ANZ Championship tussle on Anzac Day.