Get this one.
For the first time – ever – the AFL is holding a regular season game internationally.
It’s a pretty big deal.
This Thursday is ANZAC Day, which stands for Australia-New Zealand Army Corp and recognizes the first combined military action of Australia and New Zealand during World War I. It is one of the most important national holidays as it is a time to honor those who fought and died in the service of their country.
And how to most Aussies celebrate? By going to the footy – OF COURSE!
This year, in the efforts to expand the game internationally, the AFL is hosting a game in Wellington, New Zealand, which will be the first ever game played outside Australia that contributes to a club’s points in regular season competition (they’ve hosted exhibition games before, but nothing of this magnitude).
The match will take place between the Sydney Swans and St. Kilda Saints. Traditionally, the ANZAC Day game take place between the Essendon Bombers (very poor taste war joke, in my opinion) and the Collingwood Magpies at the MCG, and that match will go on as planned, with the New Zealand clash happening right after it.
So if you’ve never watched a game of AFL in your life… this is the one to watch. The MCG game is already sold out (yes indeed they have sold out 70,000 tickets with 5,000 standing room tickets available this week – which are likely to go fast).
So what are the talking points? Well…
The new tradition will be exciting. Both clubs are performing well and Sydney have bruised egos after their defeat last week (to Geelong – yikes!). The Saints, although they have lost 3 of their first 4 games will be looking to make history with the first international win. They’ve got a lot more to prove. They also have further to travel and fewer days since their last game… will it impact them? I hope so – the Swans are my club 🙂
For the traditional game, Essendon has had two major injuries while Collingwood have their returning ruckmen, Darren Jolly, ready to dominate. Collingwood have been performing amazingly, as have Essedon, particularly with a 100 point win (it was more than that, but I don’t want to rub it in) over the Melbourne Demons in Round 2. For me, personally it Dane Swan and Scott Pendlebury (Magpies) versus Jobe Watson and Brendon Goddard (Bombers). Those are the guns of the clubs… and whoever have the best performing guns are going to win this one. My vote is for Collingwood – Dane Swans loves him some Bombers, and he better do well because he’s in my fantasy team. Collingwood will win this one.