Dual code Anzac blockbuster should be supported

MY HAT goes off to the organisers of Thursday's Anzac Day football challenge at Robertson Oval.

The jury's in and the verdict is the inaugural event was a success, at least in most ways.

While some tinkering is probably needed, there's no denying the event was a winning concept and should remain on Wagga's sporting calendar going forward.

I was lucky enough to get down to the oval to watch the second half of the Riverina Football League game and stayed for the Group Nine opener.

I was pleasantly surprised with the size of the crowd, which organisers tipped to be in excess of 2000 people who forked out $4670 in donations at the gate.

Listening to comments from a number of people during and after the games, everyone seemed to enjoy the afternoon.

It was a nice alternative to sitting in a pub drinking rum and playing two-up.

The crowd did drop off during the rugby league game, which was probably due in part to the placement of the field.

Spectators were made to sit up to 50 or 60 metres away from the sideline thanks to regulations forbidding them from sitting inside the oval fence during play.

That, coupled with the cool weather and time of the game, probably turned a few people away in the end.

But organisers should not let it deter them from making the Anzac Day challenge an annual fixture.

It will only continue to grow in popularity following Thursday's inaugural running.

People in Wagga have limited options when it comes to Anzac Day activities and this provides them with something a bit different.

The Farrer League Anzac Challenge played between The Rock-Yerong Creek and Marrar is always a popular game but we need something actually played on April 25.

It will become a tradition for families to attend an Anzac Day march then head to Robertson Oval to watch the local football.

Maybe a big screen can be installed to air the Essendon-Collingwood game at the ground ... but that's coming from a Bombers supporter so don't take it too seriously.

However, they change it in future years I hope people continue to support it like they did on Thursday.

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ENGLAND could be painting itself into a corner by underestimating the Australian squad to contest the Ashes in July.

As soon as the 16-man squad was announced on Wednesday, English media was quick to label it "the worst ever Australian touring squad".

I hope it isn't just a crude attempt to ruffle our feathers and the Poms genuinely think they will roll us that easily.

Because if they do, they will be in for a rude shock.

Granted the squad is not one of the best we have produced, but the 16 players named are no muppets.

The selection of Chris Rogers is a gamble but one that hopefully pays off for John Inverarity.

Rogers has experience in England and could play a big part in the series.

George Bailey was luckless in not being named, having been scoring runs in County cricket to make a case for selection.

The bowling selections of Jackson Bird and Ryan Harris were good to see following their solid Sheffield Shield form, but Harris will need to stay fit leading up to the Ashes. 

The Australian squad is not great, but England may have already lost the battle if they think they've won the war before it has started.

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