Zach Merrett will play in his first Anzac Day as Bombers Captain. (Photo: AFL Photos)

Bombers Captain Zach Merrett is honoured to be leading the club ahead of its 29th Anzac Day match against Collingwood.

What started as an idea from former Senior Coach Kevin Sheedy as a way to commemorate the most sacred day on Australia’s cultural calendar has blossomed into a week of education, respect and reflection at Bomberland.

First-year players are taken on a tour of the Shrine of Remembrance, the club hosts an afternoon hearing from returned servicemen about what the day means to them and calls on past club and opposition players to give their thoughts on the match itself.


It’s these events which have resonated the most with Merrett and the wider playing group to appreciate the monumental occasion they’re a part of.

“It’s an amazing experience to be involved in,” Merrett said.

“Seeing guys who listened to Dustin Fletcher, Jobe Watson and Travis Cloke from a Collingwood experience yesterday, gave us all tingles and butterflies thinking about the opportunity at hand.

“We also know we’re playing a small role in the scheme of things.”


After the ceremony of reflection, attention will quickly shift to the game where Essendon will look to improve on their 4-2 record against a Collingwood side who are well and truly back after crushing Port Adelaide for their second win on the trot.

The Bombers will be looking to score a first Anzac Day victory since 2021 and show their improvement since the last time they played the Pies, which resulted in a heavy final round defeat at the end of last season.

"The important part of it for us is we were able to play them when they were flying late last year ... (but) we weren't able to compete with them across any quarters, really," Merrett said.

"So to be able to play them now ... this will give us a really good sounding board, a reference, as to what we've worked on in the pre-season and the first six weeks.

"(We can) review that last game last year to now – what we've improved on, or haven't improved on, and how we can challenge what they're doing at their best.

"It's one thing to know, it's (another) thing to execute for 120 minutes against these teams.

“To be four and two’s a great start, but the challenges seem to keep coming every week."

This year’s Anzac Day clash will also be the first time Merrett Captain's his side during the prestigious fixture.

After missing with suspension last season in his inaugural year as Skipper, Merrett can’t wait to lead his team up the race.

"Definitely last year, missing, was a reminder of how fickle the game can be," he said.

"So to be lining up in my game (on Anzac Day) as captain is super special."