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If the Grand Final is the pinnacle of the AFL season, then, without doubt, the Anzac Day clash between Collingwood and Essendon is the highlight of the home and away season. Each year, 90,000-plus fans cram into the MCG for a game that honours the Anzacs and encapsulates the very best of their spirit. More often than not, the match lives up to the occasion, and souvenir book Badge of Honour celebrates all the special moments of the game, and the day, in 100 pages. There have been some classic encounters – the nail-biting draw back in 1995 and Essendon’s thrilling eight-point win in 2001, to name just a couple. And there have been countless heroes – established stars such as James Hird and Nathan Buckley rose to the occasion, while Mark McGough and Andrew Lovett made names for themselves. Complemented by stunning photos, Badge of Honour is a wonderful tribute to the Anzacs. Fittingly, the book finishes with a list of VFL footballers who died in service of Australia.
Nick Bowen has been a writer and editor at The Slattery Media Group since 2007, working on the AFL Record and other football publications. He was also the editor of the VFL/TAC Cup Record and junior football magazine, JSquad, and has previously worked for the Herald Sun, Messenger and Leader community newspapers, and Adelaide's Sunday Mail.