The first VFL matches played on April 25 occurred in 1914 exactly 12 months prior to the first division storming ashore at Gallipoli.
Geelong drew with Essendon, Fitzroy defeated Melbourne, Collingwood drew with Carlton, South Melbourne defeated University and St. Kilda defeated Richmond.
From 1915 to 1960 Victorian legislation prohibited the playing of sport on ANZAC day. Only in 1953 and 1959 did April 25 fall on a Saturday within a football season requiring a bye in the fixture. In 1960 the legislation was changed to allow sport to be played but only after 2pm.
Between 1960 and 2017 there have been 130 ANZAC day matches played for premiership points.
Since 1995 Essendon and Collingwood have played the annual match whose focus is commemorating Australian serviceman and ANZAC Day. The fixture has become a highlight of the season for umpires also.
The late Brian Pratt heads the list of goal umpires who have officiated in ANZAC Day matches (7), followed by David Flegg, Craig Clark, Graham Danne, Ted Johnson and David Dixon who have 6.
This year both Matt Dervan and Steve Piperno will officiate in their first ANZAC Day game.
Former AFL umpire Shane Jansen holds the record for boundary umpires with Ian Burrows, John Morris and Nathan Doig with 6 ANZAC Day games each.
This year veteran Adam Coote umpires his 4th, Matt Tomkins his 2nd and making their ANZAC Day debuts are Josh Mather and Lachlan Rayner.
Scott McLaren and Rowan Sawers hold the record for field umpires with eight each. Peter Cameron has 7 and Brett Allen, John Harvey and Darren Goldspink have 6.
This year Ray Chamberlain takes his tally to 5, Brendan Hosking umpires his 2nd and Curtis Deboy walks out for his first ANZAC Day match.
We wish all of our officials the best in a game that many believes is only second in importance to an AFL grand final.