AFL Rivalry: Collingwood Magpies v Essendon Bombers
AFL Rivalry: Collingwood Magpies v Essendon Bombers

Collingwood and Essendon could be the oldest rivalry in Australian sport.

Author: Matthew Keogh
Matthew Keogh
Communications Manager
19th Apr, 22·☕️ 6 min read

The Magpies and Bombers rivalry is built on their close geography, heavyweight status in the league and their annual ANZAC Day clash.

The two teams play each other twice in 2022 with their ANZAC Day game kicking off in on Monday, April 25 at the MCG.

Let’s explore how the feud began and how it will continue in AFL season 2022.


2022 fixture: Collingwood v Essendon

Round 6: Monday April 25, 2022
Round 19: TBC

Collingwood 2022 Preview

In 2022, Collingwood have a new coach and one of the best young prospects, 2021 number 4 pick (Father Son selection), Nick Daicos.

Nick is the younger brother of current Magpies listed player Josh and son of Collingwood champion, Peter Daicos.

While the Pies have many young stars, they doing have some chinks in their armour. For example, they have an aging midfield (Pendlebury and Sidebottom), no dominant power forward and Jordan De Goey is either in trouble or not living up to his potential.

The Pies should finish bottom 8 in 2022.

Collingwood players to Watch in 2022

Nick Daicos

This Sun of a Gun is ready-made for the AFL and expected to make an immediate impact for the Pies on a half-back flank and through the midfield. A star in the making.

Darcy Moore

Playing on the opposition’s best or second best forward each week, Moore has established himself as a key pillar in the Collingwood defense. Moore is equally adept at incept marking and rebounding out of defensive 50 with his long penetrating kick.

Jordan De Goey

The 26 year-old is out of excuses and must put together the best season of his career. Out-of-contract at the end of the season and coming off a tumultuous off-season, De Goey must string together games of brilliance, not just moments in matches.

De Goey

Essendon 2022 Preview

The Bombers haven’t won a final since 2004 and desperately need to change that this year after losing last year’s elimination final to eventual runners up, the Western Bulldogs.

Perhaps all that’s missing in their line-up is a power forward, but Peter Wright is doing a good job and Jake Stringer is chipping in as usual (when he’s not injured).

The window for Essendon’s next successful period is opening, but can they jump through?

Essendon players to Watch in 2022

Darcy Parish

In the absence of Andrew McGrath and Dylan Shiel for most of last season, Parish stepped up and became one of the most prolific midfielders in the competition.

Only 24 years-old, Parish is strong around the ball and a noted goal kicker. Expect him to go up another notch in 2022.

Nic Cox

The 198 cm wingman has amazing athleticism for a man of his height.

However, the big man does need to bulk up his frame if he’s going to become elite. So, if he’s eaten his steaks and protein shakes over the summer, it’s likely Cox will become one of Essendon’s most important players.

Jordan Ridley

Jordan Ridley became an All-Australian in 2021 and established himself as a reliable defender.

Not known for his flashy play or high marking, Ridley is a rock-steady defender who’s cool under pressure, rarely gets beaten and always makes the right decision. The Bombers have found a potential champion who will serve them well for 10 years or more to come.

Collingwood v Essendon: The Last 5 Encounters

Round 23, 2021Essendon by 38 points
Round 6, 2021Essendon by 24 points
Round 5, 2020Essendon by 15 points
Round 23, 2019Collingwood by 11 points
Round 6, 2019Collingwood by 4 points

*Correct as of April 19, 2022.

Most Memorable Recent Clash

Round 5, April 25, 2009 (ANZAC DAY).


With less than 5 minutes remaining on the clock, down by 14 points and the heavens starting to open, Essendon’s hope of winning looked slim at best.

But after two quick goals to Leroy Jetta and Ricky Dyson, Essendon reduced the deficit to 2 points with 3 minutes remaining.

Then with 50 second left, David Zaharakis sealed the game with a bomb from 45 meters out in the pouring rain.

Essendon won the 2009 ANZAC Day game by 4 points.

David Zaharakis

How the Collingwood v Essendon Rivalry Began

In the early years of the VFL, this fierce rivalry grew out of many Grand Final battles (1901, 1902 and 1911). But they didn’t play against each other again in a Grand Final until 1990, when the Pies won by 48 points.

Along with Carlton on 16 premierships, these 2 rivals are the most winningest’s clubs in the AFL. Essendon has 16 premierships and Collingwood has 15.

Since 1995, the rivalry has intensified, with the clubs meeting annually in the Anzac Day clash. The match is usually attented by 95,000 fans.

Tale of the Tape

The PiesColloquialy known asThe Dons
Craig McRaeCoachBen Rutten
Scott PendleburyCaptainDyson Heppell
17th2021 finish8th
Gordon Coventry and Jock McHaleAFL LegendsDick Reynolds, John Coleman and Kevin Sheedy
Scott Pendlebury (334)Games record holderDustin Fletcher (400)
Gordon Coventry (1299)Leading goal kickerMatthew Lloyd (926)
38H2H since 198044
128All-time H2H128

*Correct as of April 19, 2022.

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