BROWNIE: ANZAC Day matches carry a special emotion for players

Nathan Brown Columnist

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    The Dragons' Matt Cooper takes the Roosters' line in last year's ANZAC day match. AAP Image/Action Photographics, Robb Cox

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    From my experience as both a player and a coach, I can tell you that ANZAC Day games are traditionally one of the bigger events of the year for NRL players.

    It’s always a emotional game to be a part of.

    The pre-game activity is inspiring, with the choppers and the soldiers, and the intensity on the field always seems a bit higher as a result.

    The two matches we have today shape up as classic ANZAC Day encounters.

    Both the Roosters and the Dragons are looking solid this year.

    The Roosters, under Brian Smith, are one of those teams that are only going to get better as the season goes on.

    The complexities of Smithy’s attacking structures can take some getting used to. He does things a little differently.

    So Smithy coached sides generally start a bit slower before finding their rhythm.

    But once the team clicks, they’ll be very hard to beat.

    I like the way the younger guys have come into the side this season and really stood up. There’s a lot of improvement in them as a team, and while they’re currently sitting at 4 wins and 3 losses, this could be the game that kickstarts the rest of their season.

    Likewise, the Dragons have had a very promising start, apart from one or two games. Their performance against the Tigers, in particular, was as good as I’ve seen them play in a year or so.

    They’ve lost some big-name players in the off-season, and had a few more unavailable due to injury. But aided by the talented youth they’ve brought into the side, they’re playing some very solid footy.

    They’ve also changed their tactics a bit under new coach Steve Price. Most noticeable is that Hornby and Soward have swapped sides and there’s been more lateral movement with the ball as a result.

    The Dragons are traveling as good as any side in the competition.

    In the other match, the Warriors started off with probably the best game I’ve seen this season against the Sea Eagles, but things haven’t been quite as good since.

    My sense is that they’ve been a little too lateral with the ball rather than using their big men more up the middle.

    But in their win against the Rabbits, it looks like they’ve made some adjustments to what they’re doing and they’ll give Melbourne a tough game today.

    The Storm are just a well-oiled machine.

    They appear to be moving the ball a bit more at the back this season and getting the ball out to their centres.

    But as I’ve pointed out in a previous column, they’ve been able to do that because of the hard yards being won up front by the likes of Ryles and Bromwich.

    If they had a weakness last season, it was with getting good field position. This year, that hasn’t been such a problem.

    And, as always, the Storm’s defence is very hard to break.

    The Warriors have a massive pack and they’re good at grinding out the yards, but it’s hard to bet against the impact that the Storm’s 1, 7 and 9 will have on the match.

    Either way, it’ll be a great day of footy. The emotion of the occasion always brings a good crowd. And it’s obviously a very significant day for a lot of Australian families.

    Players from all the teams involved will long remember being a part of this ANZAC Day battle.

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    The Crowd Says (13)

    • April 25th 2012 @ 10:02am
      andrea dyson said | April 25th 2012 @ 10:02am | ! Report

      Could someone tell me why the Anzac day match between the Roosters & Dragons is not on free to air tv. It is disgusting on a day like today that only pay tv gets it It isn’t advertised anywhere so money wins again.

      • April 25th 2012 @ 11:18am
        eagleJack said | April 25th 2012 @ 11:18am | ! Report

        All I can say is thank GOD for that!

        We actually get to watch both games today LIVE. A concept very foreign to our friends at Channel 9.

      • April 25th 2012 @ 1:02pm
        oikee said | April 25th 2012 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

        All the anzacs in the old people homes have only AFL to watch. What a damm injustice this country is doing to our war heroes.
        Tell you what, things had better change in this country. or else.

      • April 25th 2012 @ 4:12pm
        josh quinn said | April 25th 2012 @ 4:12pm | ! Report

        This is out of order, Anzac Day, and we cant see the footy on tv, I just changed channels to 9, and there is that kids show on, totally unacceptable, who wants to watch nitro? i want to see the rugby league, 9, get your stuff together, and fox shove it, poor covergae and commentary

    • April 25th 2012 @ 12:59pm
      oikee said | April 25th 2012 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

      Get ready for the record tv veiwers for AFL toomoorow.
      When is this country going to start promoting other codes, having all your aggs in one basket is so unhealthy.
      Plus they are making a mockery of Anzac day, anyone would think only AFL players went to war.

    • April 25th 2012 @ 2:33pm
      gary dwyer said | April 25th 2012 @ 2:33pm | ! Report

      what ajoke why doesnt channel 9 give the footy to someone else 3 games on a weekend and get one live no anzac day game fed up

    • April 25th 2012 @ 3:42pm
      Michael Hitchcock said | April 25th 2012 @ 3:42pm | ! Report

      And they are worried about AFL taking market share in sydneys west……..

      Denying us the free to air game is a good start!!! …………….Idiots

      • April 25th 2012 @ 9:38pm
        M-Rod said | April 25th 2012 @ 9:38pm | ! Report

        sadly the NRL are puppets to Channel 9… 3 w/end games and only 1 live; no live coverage of NRL Internationals; no FTA coverage of Anzac Day games; Channel 9 wanting to bump TV coverage of NRL rounds for 1-day cricket; forcing NRL to schedule Bronco matches Friday night, poor Melb TV coverage…yet Channel 9 promote themselves as the flagship broadcaster for the NRL !!! as if !!!

    • April 25th 2012 @ 4:05pm
      Jitter said | April 25th 2012 @ 4:05pm | ! Report

      Comparing the sacrifices of war with a fictitious sports code war is disgraceful! Wake up to yourselves and get some perspective!

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download The Roar’s iPhone App in the App Store here.

    • April 25th 2012 @ 4:05pm
      Jitter said | April 25th 2012 @ 4:05pm | ! Report

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download The Roar’s iPhone App in the App Store here.

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