We deserve Anzac Day spot: Bombers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

We deserve Anzac Day spot: Bombers

By Robert Grant 26/04/2010 01:36:31 PM Comments (0)

Essendon veteran Dustin Fletcher has strongly defended the Bombers' right to continue to be a part of the AFL's Anzac Day blockbuster.

The defender rejected suggestions the match - a traditional season highlight - should be rejigged in view of Essendon's demolition by Collingwood in two of the past three years.

The Bombers were again embarrassed on Sunday when they fell by 65 points to the Magpies in front of 90,070 at the MCG.

Two years ago Essendon were whipped by 73 points and, while they defeated Collingwood last season, there is mounting pressure for the day to represent something other than a massive anti-climax.

AFL legend Rob Barassi said on Monday that he did not believe the two teams should be entitled to the date "forever."

The AFL has the option of changing the format to highlight the keynote game by pitting the two highest ranked teams against each other or staging a re-match of the previous year's grand finalists.

But Fletcher staunchly defended Essendon's right to be a participant on the big day every year.

He said it would be unfair to exclude them after former Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy had been instrumental with Collingwood and the league in initiating the Anzac Day clash.

"It was a great idea and to get 90,000 there, Essendon and Collingwood are the teams for the day," Fletcher said.

"We were a bit disappointing but to get 90,000 every Anzac Day is what Essendon and Collingwood is about and I think we deserve the spot."

With Essendon's game littered with unforced errors and poor skills, Fletcher admitted the Bombers might have to review its aggressive, proactive game style and revert to a more conservative approach to try to eliminate mistakes.

"If we can improve our skills that sort of takes care of itself a little bit but we might get back a bit to our players playing one-on-one stuff and beating your man when it gets a bit tough," he said.

"But in saying that, that's the way footy's going and if we can hit our targets and just do a little bit better in that area we won't be chasing back all the time so I think that's what we'll look at this week."

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