MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 25: The players and crowd stand for a minutes silence in tribute to Anzac Day during the round five AFL match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Essendon Bombers at Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 25, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

This ANZAC Day can we finally stop likening football to going to war?

ANZAC Day is nearly upon us for another year.

It is a brilliant celebration of what past soldiers sacrificed for our country in order for us to enjoy the freedoms we currently enjoy.

As has become customary in Australian culture, the day is marked with several sporting events.

The traditional ANZAC Day clash between Essendon and Collingwood, which began in 1995, is a brilliant occasion and both teams do well to promote it and pay homage to fallen soldiers.

It is another stage where we can celebrate our veterans with pride, which can only be a good thing.

However, year on year, coaches, players and media experts use the analogy of ‘going into battle’, ‘leading the troops’, ‘displaying the ANZAC spirit’ or referring to a players as a ‘soldier’ when talking about the footy over the ANZAC weekend.

It must stop.

Beside having mates run out with you, I do not care who you are, you cannot compare a situation where you could very well be killed and witness thousands of friends around you brutally slaughtered, to a game of football.

A game of footy is fun, these young men are playing the game they love and are in a privileged position.

They are getting paid good money and 100,000 fans are cheering their names.

There are definitely moments in matches that require a player to be courageous and require him to put his body on the line for a teammate. But to provide an analogy which likens what takes place on the football field to the destruction and horror of war is ridiculous and disrespectful.

It is simply unimaginable what the young men who fought in World War I and II and the conflicts our soldiers have fought in since, have been faced with and forced to endure and we are lucky that the majority of us currently do not have to think about the possibility of such circumstances.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 25: Steele Sidebottom of the Magpies shows off his Anzac Medal awarded to him for being best on ground during the round five AFL match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Essendon Bombers at Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 25, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Involving past and current servicemen in the event is a great way to show respect throughout the day and brilliant way to honour those fallen soldiers with a game unique to our country.


It is a great event and one that should continue to be celebrated by the football community.

But let’s please be respectful and leave the analogies of war out of the press conferences, interviews and match previews and reviews.

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