Melbourne captain Nathan Jones says his club would relish the chance to be a part of the AFL’s annual Anzac Day commemorations with a permanent fixture on April 24.
The Demons play Richmond on Friday night at the MCG and together with the Tigers would like the occasion to stick.
“I think it’d be a great spectacle,” Jones said.
“I don’t really agree with the comparisons with war and football.
“But I do agree that if we can respectfully commemorate the efforts of the Anzacs in the past and can continue to keep the story alive and educate the current generation … that’s something we’d love to be a part of and make permanent.”
Jones’ comments echo those of Richmond chief executive Brendan Gale.
“We clearly want this to become an annual game played between Richmond and Melbourne, and we believe supporters of both sides will embrace the occasion,” Gale said.
Melbourne has good reason to be a part of the AFL’s annual commemoration of Australia’s wartime history.
The Demons had 30 casualties during the First and Second World Wars; more than any other AFL club.
It also beat Richmond, which lost five men, in the 1940 grand final as the Second World War raged.
Aside from their shared military heritage, the two MCG tenants have the makings of a modern day rivalry.
Melbourne’s defeat of the Tigers in round nine last year in the Tommy Hafey tribute game still irks those at Punt Road.
And Jones said he’d love for Richmond to grow to be the Demons’ arch-enemies.
“We enjoy playing them, there’s a little bit of a rivalry there,” Jones said.
“It was a big game for them last year with the passing of one of their club greats.
“We were able to rise to the occasion and get the win.
“(Rivalries) grow organically depending on performances … but I’d love it to be Richmond.”
The date with the Tigers is Melbourne’s first outing under Friday night lights since 2012, and Jones said the players would lift for the occasion.
But the captain was almost a non-starter for the match after a training mishap on Wednesday morning.
Fresh from his tagging role on Patrick Dangerfield last weekend, Bernie Vince accidentally produced a shut-down job on Jones.
The tagger let loose with a torpedo from 60 metres out but didn’t notice his skipper, striking Jones in the back of his bald head.
It took Jones an hour to recover and join the group training.
“I’m alright,” he laughed.
“A concussion test, I passed that and I’m all sweet.”