Carlton and Essendon, two titans of the Australian Football League (AFL), are setting their sights on the King’s Birthday eve timeslot. Their goal is to make this an annual prime-time fixture, following the footsteps of the well-received Anzac Day Eve game.
The Brewing Rivalry: Blues and Bombers’ Long-term Fixture Aspirations
Next month, these traditional rivals will lock horns on the Sunday evening preceding the King’s Birthday holiday. Both teams have pledged to work towards transforming this match into a staple event in the AFL’s yearly schedule.
Comparisons to the Successful Anzac Day Eve Game
The inspiration for this comes from the extraordinary success of the Anzac Eve clash between Richmond and Melbourne, which attracted an impressive crowd of 83,985 this year and has consistently averaged over 70,000 attendees since its initiation in 2015.
The Potential Upside of the King’s Birthday Eve Timeslot
Both the Blues and the Bombers recognise the enormous potential the King’s Birthday Eve timeslot presents. They are optimistic that this season’s contest will mark the beginning of a long-term plan to establish the fixture as the AFL’s next blockbuster event.
The Longstanding Carlton-Essendon Rivalry Revived
This upcoming match is also anticipated to reignite the age-old rivalry between the two clubs. Their last game, a Friday night fixture commemorating Essendon’s 150th anniversary, was only the second prime-time meeting between the teams since 2013. Contrastingly, nine out of their last twelve matches have been played on Saturday or Sunday afternoons.
The Blues is an annual participant in the season opener and a recent contender on Good Friday, while the Bombers have a place in Anzac Day, Dreamtime at the ‘G, and also the Country Game. The King’s Birthday Eve fixture will kick off at 7.10 pm AEST and will set the stage for Collingwood’s face-off with Melbourne on King’s Birthday – a game known as the ‘Big Freeze’ in tribute to Neale Daniher’s Fight MND charity.