THE AFL has offered an Anzac Day bonus for Diggers, with the League today announcing Australian military troops serving across the globe will be given free access to live streaming of all AFL games.
The initiative kicks off on Friday, just in time for the Anzac Day blockbuster between Collingwood and Essendon, with all active service men and women able to watch football games live or on demand through WatchAFL, the League's international streaming service.
AFL deputy chief executive Gillon McLachlan made the announcement on Wednesday at Parliament House in Canberra, along with the Minister for Defence, David Johnston.
"We're incredibly pleased to support the military with this initiative," McLachlan told AFL.com.au.
"Anzac Day plays an extraordinarily big part in the AFL calendar; it's our biggest game of the year.
"As well as this small contribution to our active men and women overseas, we will also be donating a portion of our ticketing proceeds over the weekend to the Anzac Centenary Public Fund, and we're very pleased to be able to do it."
Australians are still serving overseas in Africa and the Middle East, with around 400 troops still in Afghanistan despite the withdrawal last year.
Active service men and women will be provided with a voucher to log into WatchAFL and view as many games as they like for the remainder of the season.
McLachlan said the initiative has kept the AFL one step ahead of the other football codes.
"I think it does [keep the AFL ahead of the game], but I think they will probably follow suit," McLachlan said.
"In the end though, this is about us making a contribution through this small initiative to our active service men and women and recognising the extraordinary job they do for Australians.
The Minister for Defence welcomed the initiative, saying it would be a morale booster for the dedicated men and women serving away from home.
"Not only will we be all at home watching the Essendon-Collingwood blockbuster on Anzac Day, now our serving men and women in Al Minhad, South Sudan, Afghanistan, in Bahrain and in Kuwait will all be able to stream that football match live and will be able to watch all the other games," Johnston said.
"This is something I want to thank the AFL for because it means a lot to our men and women away from home to see their favourite sport being played live and to be part of the action and the excitement.
"Morale is very important to me. I couldn't think of anything worse than people losing their morale because they couldn't watch something they should have been able to watch. I think we have a huge opportunity to make a significant contribution to the standard of life in-service far away from home by having people access their favourite sport."
The AFL is optimistic that around $250,000 will be raised for the ANZAC Centenary Public Fund through a portion of ticketing revenue from round six.