NRL and AFL engulfed in Anzac Day debate over playing of Last Post

Some have questioned whether the Last Post should be played before every game in Anzac round, or just on Anzac Day itself.

The Last Post, pictured here being played in the NRL.
The Last Post has been played before every NRL and AFL game in Anzac Round, going back to last Thursday. Image: Getty

Debate has erupted amongst NRL and AFL fans about the playing of the Last Post for all games during Anzac Round, with many expressing their belief that it should only be played on Anzac Day. The NRL and AFL are both honouring the Anzacs during their current respective rounds, which started on Thursday for the NRL and Friday for the AFL, and both finish on Anzac Day on Tuesday.

Teams have been wearing commemorative jerseys as a mark of respect, while the Last Post has been played and a moment of silence held before every game. However it has led to some questions about whether the Last Post should be reserved for Anzac Day itself, and whether playing it before every game as far back as last Thursday's clash between Penrith and South Sydney results in it losing some of its meaning.

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Brett Sprigg of the ABC posted on Twitter last week: “Touchy subject but do we need The Last Post before every sporting event up to five days before Anzac Day? It’s a sacred thing which should be reserved for the day, maybe the day before at a stretch. Are there other respectful ways to commemorate without getting bugle fatigue?” ABC commentator and journalist Glen Lauder responded: “Only on Anzac Day for me.”

Another social media user commented: "Hopefully they do not play the Last Post at the start of these games. It lessens the meaning and should only ever be played at meaningful, appropriate times."

While another wrote: "Anzac Day games... pomp and ceremony, the Last Post, all good. Doing it for every game in NRL, AFL and Super Rugby over the course of 5 days? Overkill. It just seems so empty to me when it's not the actual day."

However not everyone agreed. One fan slammed suggestions the Last Post should only be played on Anzac Day, writing: “Having been part of the Funeral Service for our last Light Horseman and Gallipoli Veteran Trooper Len Hall who is immortalised in memory in Fremantle’s Len Hall game every year I am frankly astounded by this complete lack of respect.”

Another user wrote: “Gives the chance for everyone to experience the moment. Not everyone can get to the game on Anzac Day. No harm.”

Collingwood and Essendon in blockbuster Anzac Day clash

Traditionally it was just the Dragons and Roosters who played on Anzac Day in the NRL, and Collingwood and Essendon in the AFL. In recent years the NRL added a Storm and Warriors clash to Anzac Day fixtures to include a New Zealand team.

Collingwood (third) and Essendon (second) will play the AFL's biggest Anzac Day clash in more than two decades on Tuesday, with the traditional rivals both holding identical 4-1 records after five rounds.

More than 90,000 fans are expected at a sold-out MCG, with the two sets of supporters buoyed by what they've seen from their teams over the opening five weeks. It marks just the second time the two sides have both sat in the top four heading into their annual Anzac Day clash - the first since 2000 - and just the sixth time both have entered with positive win-loss records.

Australian Army Officers and players, pictured here standing for the Last Post before St Kilda's clash with Carlton.
Australian Army Officers and players stand for the Last Post before St Kilda's clash with Carlton in the AFL. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

It will also make for one of the most significant Anzac Day meetings between the Magpies and Bombers since the tradition began with the famous draw in front of 94,825 fans in 1995. "It certainly feels like it," Collingwood captain Darcy Moore said.

"Both teams are in the top four and have started the season really well. Neither of us are finished products by round six, so we've got a lot of improvement in us, but it certainly feels like a big game, for sure. It's already sold out, so I think that's a pretty good indicator."

with AAP

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