26 April 2018

Record crowd attends Anzac Day match

The final Anzac Day match at Allianz Stadium lived up to the hype with a record crowd of 41,142 turning out for the annual clash.

In a brutal contest, the St George Illawarra Dragons silenced the Sydney Roosters supporters to run away with a 24-8 win, placing them at the top of the NRL ladder.

Fans filled in the precinct from 1pm to watch the Australian Defence Force and New Zealand Defence Force teams battle it out, while others took part in two-up on the plaza.

“These days are special,” coach Paul McGregor said afterwards. “We had an opportunity to go and show gratitude by playing. We certainly didn’t let anyone down, with the courage we showed.”

Nene McDonald scored two tries and Ben Hunt outplayed Roosters halfback Cooper Cronk throughout the match to put the gloss on a solid effort upfront from the Dragons pack.

The annual clash is headed for the SCG over the next three seasons while the SFS is rebuilt at the end of the 2018 seasons, continuing a longstanding rugby league tradition at Moore Park.

“Easts and the Dragons played their first Anzac Day match at the SCG in 1959 and we are delighted that next season, the two clubs and their many thousands of fans will once again pay tribute to our servicemen and women at the SCG – a place that began its life as a military sporting ground,” said Trust Chairman Tony Shepherd.

“In 2002, the Roosters, Dragons and Trust established the Anzac Day Cup – breathing new life into a wonderful sporting tradition. It is now, without question, the largest and most significant match outside of the finals series.

“Returning to the SCG for three seasons will give the clubs, players and fans the chance to reflect on the enormous history of the game in the SCG precinct -  from the Dragons’ 11 straight premierships to those wonderful Easts teams of 1974 and ’75 that convinced a pioneer Nick Politis to become rugby league’s first sponsor.”

Rugby league returns to Allianz Stadium on Sunday, May 6 when the Sydney Roosters take on the Manly Sea Eagles.