The first modern Anzac Day match between Collingwood and Essendon was played on Tuesday, 25 April 1995 at the MCG. The round-four match received limited publicity, as there had previously been AFL matches played on 25 April. Essendon had won its first three games of the season; however, Collingwood were without a victory at that point in the season. Soon after the Anzac Day march in the city, patrons flocked to the ground. Crowds outside the ground were so substantial at 12.30pm that Collingwood coach Leigh Matthews thought the gates to the ground must have still been locked. When the gates were closed at 1.30 pm – still 40 minutes before the start of the match – 20,000 additional people had to be dispersed by mounted police, while they attempted to gain admission into the stadium. Thousands of these people descended on nearby Fitzroy Gardens, where they listened to the match on radio.
Played on a sunny autumn day, both teams kicked six goals in the first quarter. A three-goal-to-one second quarter helped Essendon lead by 16 points at half time. However, the momentum swayed in the third quarter, when Collingwood kicked seven goals to two, giving them a 14-point lead at the break. Essendon started strongly in the final term, and when James Hird snapped a goal late in the quarter, he gave his team a six-point advantage. Saverio Rocca leapt and took "one of the marks of the year" in the forward-line soon after. At the 28-minute mark he capitalised by kicking the goal and levelling the scores. With just seconds left, Nathan Buckley had an opportunity to score; however, he elected to kick to Rocca, who was cut off. Seconds later, the siren sounded; both teams' score on 111. Roars from the 94,825 crowd during the match could easily be heard from a kilometre away, and the crowd remains the second-highest home and away crowd in VFL/AFL history, surpassed only by the 99,346 who attended the Collingwood–Melbourne Queen's Birthday clash in 1958.
Secure your piece of history with this Commemorative Long Sleeve Guernsey, made right here in Melbourne and support the RSL's ANZAC Appeal with a portion of profits being donated.
* Orders Dispatched likely April 30, may arrive sooner *