Since unveiling the first-ever Anzac Day clash in 1995, Collingwood and Essendon have had several thrilling encounters. Tuesday afternoon's clash will be no different.

There is a slight twist in what to expect, with Essendon riding momentum after the opening month under new coach Brad Scott, sitting 4-1, likewise Collingwood. It marks the first time the teams sit in the top four heading into an Anzac Day contest since 2000.

Last Saturday, the Bombers were super impressive against premiership favourites Melbourne, with ruckmen Sam Draper and Andrew Phillips playing pivotal roles in a 27-point win.

Even without their two key forwards, Peter Wright and Sam Weideman, Essendon found different avenues to generate goals, with nine players hitting the scoreboard. This Bombers outfit in the early going is a vastly different one that meekly limped to the finish line in a disappointing 2022 campaign.

Collingwood, they have hit the ground running despite their depleted ruck stocks. The Magpies' backline took another hit with defender Nathan Murphy missing after being concussed from an incident involving St Kilda's Anthony Caminiti, while Taylor Adams unsuccessfully challenged his one-match ban for a dangerous tackle on Seb Ross.

In arguably the most eagerly-anticipated clash in years, both sides will be going tooth and nail in front of a crowd of over 90,000.

As part of the lead-up, here are five close Anzac Day matches from the last 20 years.


5. 2001 - Bombers hold gallant Magpies at bay

In front of 83,905, Essendon held off a brave Collingwood outfit to prevail by eight points.

In a see-sawing opening term, Essendon booted five goals to three - with two coming from blunders by Magpies ruckman Josh Fraser. Undaunted by Essendon's renowned physical play, the young Magpies hit a purple patch, slamming home seven of the next nine majors to open up a three-goal buffer late in the half - with Chris Tarrant causing headaches on the usually compact Bombers' defence.

Early in the third, Tarrant struck again, and Tarkyn Lockyer, already having an influence, kicked his third to re-open a three-goal lead.

Essendon, being the dominant premiers a year before, hit back with three successive majors to set up a grandstand finish. The teams continued giving their all in a frantic final stanza with several defensive efforts by all players on the field. 

Ultimately, the Bombers found a way with tough nut Paul Barnard taking an excellent mark on the lead. His fourth goal would be the final one of the match.

In a losing cause, Tarrant was awarded the Anzac Day Medal for his five-goal haul, while James Hird and Mark Mercuri had significant impacts for Essendon.