‘Extraordinary’ Anzac Day draw reignites age old AFL debate

Essendon and Collingwood have played out a thrilling 12.13 (85) to 12.13 (85) draw that is certain to reignite calls for the AFL to introduce extra time in the home and away season.

The Bombers kicked the first four goals of the game inside seven minutes to put an Anzac Day upset on the cards before Collingwood reeled them in at halftime.

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The traditional clash turned into an instant classic in the second half and finished as arguably the game of season.

Both teams had their chances to kick the matchwinner but several players missed opportunities to seal the deal.

Collingwood’s Brody Mihocek missed the goals with two chances from the same spot in the forward pocket, before a Jamie Elliott turnover gave Essendon possession.

Bombers forward Kyle Langford was accurate in front of goal with four majors all day but he missed a straightforward chance in the dying stages to tie the score.

Elliott dropped a mark at the junction of the boundary and the 50 metre arc — he likely would have put the Magpies ahead by at least a point if he held on to the grab.

Essendon captain Zach Merrett won the Anzac Day medal for his game of 31 disposals and eight tackles.

A familiar empty feeling set in after the siren and Collingwood veteran Scott Pendlebury said what many were thinking afterwards.

Seven’s Abbey Holmes asked: “Pendles, the first ever Anzac Day clash in 1995 was a draw, we’ve got a draw here. How do you sum this up?”

Pendlebury said with a grin: “Extra time.

“No it was amazing. I think you could see everyone was out on their feet at the end. “Everyone had their chances and obviously we got a bit lucky with them kicking a point at the end.

“What a game to be part of. I don’t see one guy that’s got much left. It’s what we want to display on this day.”

Essendon utility Nic Martin said on Fox Footy the draw left a “sinking feeling” among the players.

Garry Lyon said on Fox Footy: “Extraordinary here at the MCG, an unbelievable moment.

“I think a draw is a result by the way. Both teams had opportunities to convert.”

SEN’s Sam Edmund tweeted: “I’m an extra timer.”

Seven’s Ricky Mangidis said: “I think when about my first 10 reactions are ‘ should have done x’, then a draw feels like the right result. Geez what a game.”

Dan Gorringe posted: “Draws ain’t it. We gotta fix it.”

The 1977 and 2010 AFL Grand Finals were drawn and replayed the following week. While the AFL introduced extra time to finals games in 2016 but it is yet to be brought in to the regular season.

Elliott took a screamer earlier in the game that will be hard to beat for the mark of the year.

A crowd of 93,644 packed into the MCG — the fourth highest home and away attendance in V/AFL history.

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