Which Essendon Bombers v Collingwood Magpies match was best?


Fans were locked out of the MCG, but the ones that got a seat were able to witness an all-time classic, with Collingwood forward Saverio Rocca booting nine goals in a high-scoring draw with the Bombers. With just seconds remaining, Pies star Nathan Buckley, who got the three Brownlow votes, kicked to a double-teamed Rocca who was unable to mark and the siren sounded with scores locked, 16.15 (111) to 17.9 (111). It was the first of two Anzac Day Medals for Rocca.

A packed house saw Essendon and Collingwood draw in 1995, the match that kick-started a modern Anzac Day football tradition.Credit:The Age


It was the day then fourth-gamer David Zaharakis will long be remembered, when, in slippery conditions, he launched a match-winning goal from just inside the 50-metre arc to put the Bombers five points up, their third goal in the final four minutes of the game, to snatch a 13.15 (93) to 12.16 (88) win. Patrick Ryder, who was forced to cover for an injured David Hille early in the match, claimed the best afield medal.

Essendon celebrate David Zaharakis' match-winning goal deep into the last quarter.

Essendon celebrate David Zaharakis’ match-winning goal deep into the last quarter.Credit:Pat Scala


If Brownlow Medallist Dane Swan hadn’t already proved his game-breaking ability, he did so on this day, amassing 42 disposals and three goals in a narrow one-point win, 11.14 (80) to 11.13 (79). The Bombers looked likely to steal the win when a Brent Stanton snap put them in front late in the day, but the Pies worked the ball to their goal line for Jarryd Blair to soccer the match winner.

Dane Swan with the 2012 Anzac Medal.

Dane Swan with the 2012 Anzac Medal.Credit:Paul Rovere

Scott Pendlebury after winning the Anzac Medal in 2019.

Scott Pendlebury after winning the Anzac Medal in 2019.Credit:AAP


In one of the other great Anzac Day comebacks, the Pies responded from 37 points down early in the second term to beat the Bombers comfortably, 12.11 (83) to 9.12 (60). Late in the third term, Swan again turned it on, first, with a running left-foot goal deep in the pocket and then, a ‘don’t-argue’ fend-off as he burst through congestion to seal his second Anzac Day medal.


Another Anzac Day and another thriller. Grand finalists Collingwood went in as hot favourites and looked like they were cruising to an easy when when they raced to a 33-point lead just before half-time. But Joe Daniher, lined up on Darcy Moore, got his side back into the contest, kicking four goals, only for the Pies to hold on for dear life in a nail-biting four-point win. Scott Pendlebury landed his third Anzac Day medal with 38 disposals.

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