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Friday, April 24, 2015


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.
Super 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.


The 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
The 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
Australian 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 Wellington.

* NRL: WARRIORS VS TITANS - Auckland, Mt Smart Stadium, 11.45am NZST
The 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.