Malthouse breaks ranks on Anzac Day - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Malthouse breaks ranks on Anzac Day

By Roger Vaughan 20/04/2011 07:41:56 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse has broken ranks on the thorny issue of whether the AFL Anzac Day blockbuster should be shared among clubs.

While league chief executive Andrew Demetriou wants the Magpies and Essendon to continue the tradition they started in 1995, Malthouse admits he has become uneasy about the hugely-successful annual fixture.

The clash attracts a capacity MCG crowd and has become the league's biggest match outside the finals.

But Malthouse notes the success of the match has as much to do with the occasion as the big followings that Collingwood and Essendon bring to the match.

The playing of the Last Post and the minute's silence in honour of Anzac Day make the build-up to the opening bounce one of the great spectacles in Australian sport.

"I feel very privileged, but I feel a bit selfish at times," Malthouse said after training on Wednesday.

"I wonder what it's like for other clubs who are looking in, going `we've got every right to be part of it as well, why aren't we?'

"So that bites into me a little bit.

"Is it a right, or do we treat it as a privilege? Certainly in my eyes, it's a great honour and privilege to do it."

His comments came after a suggestion from former Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy, who helped start this Anzac Day tradition, for games in every state on the day.

Malthouse is in his last year as Collingwood coach, but denied he was making the comments because he will not have the role next year.

He also readily acknowledged Magpies president Eddie McGuire will disagree with him.

The two clubs have fiercely opposed calls from other clubs to share the MCG fixture on Anzac Day.

Malthouse theatrically looked behind him during his media conference in the Collingwood boardroom, as if he was fearful that McGuire might be listening.

"It's probably now I've only had the intestinal fortitude to come out and say ... is there a photograph of Eddie in here anywhere?," Malthouse said

"He's probably looking over my shoulder, probably stabbing me somewhere."

But Demetriou has no such doubts about the future of the blockbuster.

"I know it gets up people's noses, but hopefully Collingwood and Essendon are playing it long into the future," he told the Ten Network.

As for the game itself on Monday, Malthouse said ruckman Darren Jolly was a good chance to return from the knee injury that sidelined him last weekend.

This year's Anzac Day blockbuster will also be a rare instance where the form of the two teams will come close to matching the occasion itself.

Collingwood, the reigning premiers, are unbeaten after four rounds and Essendon have shown great improvement to hold sixth spot.

"I can be super-critical of our player group, we're sitting on top of the ladder with (187) per cent and we've had moments where we've been ordinary," Malthouse said.

"But we're human ... if we play to our best (of) what we've done in the last four weeks, then we'll win.

"If we play to our worst, we won't - if we play somewhere in the middle, it's going to be a very good game."

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