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Aussie Rules: Rivals set for bumper Anzac showdown

Traditional rivals Collingwood and Essendon will go head-to-head in front of a sold out MCG in what is being billed as the biggest Anzac Day clash in years.

90,000 will pack into the MCG to remember the ANZACs and to hopefully witness a game that has the potential to be the match of the AFL season so far. 

That is because both the Pies and Bombers have got the season off to an electric start to sit third and second on the ladder respectively. 

St Kilda moved four points clear at the top of the ladder after they beat Carlton on Sunday, but one of these two sides now have the chance to go level on points with them. 

Collingwood and Essendon sit 4-1 after the opening five games. For the Bombers in particular it is their best start in years and confidence should be sky high. 

Something will have to give on Tuesday and attempting to predict who will come out on top in this one is a tough ask. 

It is tight at the top and the outcome of this game could have a huge say on how the remainder of the season pans out for these two sides.

Pies out to control the ruck

WhatCollingwood v Essendon
WhereMCG, Melbourne
When15:20 (AEST) Tuesday 25th April, 2023
How to watchChannel 7, Kayo, Foxtel
OddsCollingwood 1.47, Essendon 2.70

Collingwood were one of the hot fancies heading into the 2023 AFL campaign after a strong 2022 that saw them make a return to finals. 

And the Pies have not disappointed their fans so far when winning four of the opening five games. 

They did slip up when losing 116-83 against Brisbane at the Gabba, but there is no shame in that as the Lions are very strong on home soil. 

Coach Craig McRae will be delighted with the way his side bounced back when becoming the only side to beat St Kilda this season. 

The six-point win at the Gather Round in Adelaide showed there is plenty to like about this Collingwood side who are priced at 5.50 to go on and win the grand final.  

The Anzac Day clash against a resurgent Bombers side will be another test, but the Pies have been particularly strong in Melbourne so far and will be backing themselves to get the job done. 

The outcome of the game could be decided in the ruck. Essendon’s strong start to the campaign has a lot to do with the combination of Sam Draper and Andrew Phillips in the ruck. 

Collingwood will attempt to combat them with versatile tall Nathan Kreuger, who has been called up to work alongside Billy Frampton. 

McRae has admitted that the Bombers duo are the best in the AFL at the moment, but is backing his boys to be up to the task. 

Collingwood have been sweating over key players Jordan De Goey and Darcy Moore, but both are set to take their place in the side. De Goey has recovered from illness and comes in to replace the suspended Taylor Adams.

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Weideman back for Bombers

Essendon have made a flying start under new head coach Brad Scott and the Bombers faithful are starting to believe this could be their year. 

Wins over Hawthorn, Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney caught the eye, but it was the 27-point win over Melbourne that really got people talking. 

Melbourne are 5.50 to win the flag, but Essendon put them to the sword in impressive style and look set for a big season themselves.  

Again it was the ruck combination of Draper and Phillips, who snubbed out the threat of Brodie Grundy, to help the Bombers to victory. The duo will be key once again. 

Essendon have made a couple of changes to the side that beat the Demons in the Gather Round. 

Sam Weideman returns from concussion to take his place in the side, replacing Harry Jones, while Alwyn Davey jnr replaces suspended captain Zach Merrett.

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