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Pies and Bombers to split Anzac Day gate

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COLLINGWOOD and Essendon will split the gate receipts from their lucrative Anzac Day clash in 2016, which through a quirk in the draw, is the only time they meet for the year.

The clubs have met twice a year since the blockbuster Anzac Day fixture was conceived in 1995, with the home game status on Anzac Day alternating each season.

Because the Anzac Day game always draws a much larger crowd than the rematch, a handshake agreement between the clubs has ensured that the gate receipts from both games are shared between the clubs each year so that the home club the second time around is not financially disadvantaged.

But with the weighted rule that splits the clubs into three groups of six now dictating how the fixture is constructed it meant that Collingwood (12th in 2015) and Essendon (15th) fell into different groups when the 2016 draw was created.

It is Collingwood's turn as the home team for the round five game next year, but a Magpie spokesman told AFL.com.au that the club is happy to split the gate with the Bombers despite the absence of a return game.

"It's in the interests of both clubs to keep this game the spectacular event that it is, so we're happy to share the proceeds with Essendon even for just one game," he said.

The Anzac Day clash between them attracted 88,395 on a Saturday afternoon this year. The return clash, a dead rubber on the final day of the season, was watched by just 40,270 fans, the smallest crowd for a Collingwood-Essendon clash in 28 years.

The weighted rule also means that Geelong and Hawthorn's only clash for the year will be their season opener at the MCG on Easter Monday.