After all of the off-season speculation around the ACC investigation, it is no longer appropriate that Essendon play in the ANZAC Day match.
It may be taken out of the AFL’s hands anyway. There are rumours that Essendon could be banned from playing in 2013.
This is extremely unlikely. If it doesn’t happen, and they are permitted to play this year, they should not be allowed to participate in the AFL’s biggest non-finals fixture.
While we’re at it, let’s take it away from Collingwood too.
The current drugs controversy is the perfect opportunity to right a clear wrong on the AFL calendar.
The Bombers are under the microscope at the moment, and until it’s resolved they have no place in a day that honours mateship, fair-play, sacrifice and so on.
They could hardly complain, and it’s the least of their worries really.
Keeping with the charge of ‘acting against the interests of the AFL’ levelled at Melbourne, there are certainly grounds upon which to do so.
Every time ANZAC Day comes around this argument raises it’s head. Why should Essendon and Collingwood get lone rights to one of the biggest days on the sporting calendar?
There is no valid reason. These two clubs may be able to pull a crowd, however if the previous year’s grand finalists played off on the big day (a successful model employed by the SANFL), I’m sure you’d get a few people turning up.
The biggest day on the AFL Calendar is grand final day, where a team must earn their right to play.
ANZAC Day, arguably the second biggest day on the AFL calendar, should demand that the participants earn their right to play also.
Just to be clear, if Collingwood and Essendon qualify for the 2013 grand final, yes certainly they are most welcome to play in the 2014 ANZAC Day clash.
Every club should have the chance to play.