Despite AFL clubs wanting to keep each game’s build-up as low-key as possible, Collingwood’s Nathan Brown knows the lead-up to Anzac Day is different.
The 2010 premiership defender will take the field for his seventh Anzac Day clash against the Bombers, experiencing all but two of the traditional matches since making his debut for Collingwood in 2008.
Speaking to Aflplayers.com.au, the 27-year-old says the significance of the annual match – which will have its 22nd clash in 2016 – makes it stand out from others on the home and away calendar.
“Modern-day footballers are taught to treat every game the same and prepare for every game like it’s a Grand Final and we do our thing, do our structures and we roll into our pre-game warm-ups so it’s all about habits, but you can’t help as a player to really respect the day and it is a big week,” Brown says.
“No matter what form our club or Essendon are in or what’s happened in recent past, it’s always going to be a great game, the heat is going to be on.
“In some respects, it’s bigger than some finals because it’s pure and you get a lot of fans there. Sometimes the finals get a lot of people who just love footy and love watching whether they actually go for the teams that are out there, but the fans that go to Anzac Day, they step it up too.
“The players step it up and get in the spirit but I think the people that actually get to the game step it up and it’s loud and it’s big and just a great day.”