ACT government says everyone loses if Brumbies and GWS Giants go head to head on Anzac Day

All of Canberra loses if the ACT Brumbies go head-to-head with Greater Western Sydney on Anzac Day next year, according to Territory Venues general manager Neale Guthrie.

And moving the Australian War Memorial concert to August could open the way for the Canberra Raiders to host an Anzac weekend game.

Guthrie said the Brumbies and the Giants’ crowds would be down by 500 to 2000 if the Brumbies followed through with their threat to host an Anzac Day clash in the same twilight timeslot the Giants will play in on the Saturday in 2015.

He said it was important to avoid clashes in Canberra and thought the Brumbies had always wanted a Friday night game, which opened the way for GWS to play on the Saturday, with the AWM concert initially planned to be held on the Sunday.

But Brumbies chief executive Doug Edwards criticised the ACT government on Saturday because he felt the Super Rugby province had had the rug pulled out from underneath it.

They thought the AWM concert was on Saturday night – the Brumbies’ preferred time to host their second Anzac Day clash against a New Zealand opponent – which was why they shifted focus to the Friday night.

Guthrie said he was confused by the Brumbies’ threat to go head-to-head with the Giants.

“I just think Canberra loses out if they go head-to-head, I don’t understand the point of going head-to-head when they don’t need to,” he said.

“They’ve got clear advice now that one code’s committed to that Saturday. They should now be working hard as they finalise with SANZAR to secure that Friday and Canberra get the best possible attendance at their game and they get clean air.

“No one wins when you go head-to-head. We experienced that this year when the Brumbies had scheduled matches across the Show and across Skyfire.

“You just end up hurting crowds. I’m not saying they did that deliberately, schedules are complicated things.

“The more people work to de-conflict these activities the better it is for everybody.”

The AWM said their initial plan was to hold their Gallipoli centenary concert on the Sunday but when they realised there was no public holiday on the Monday they thought many visitors would stay away.

They will now look to hold the concert on a weekend in August to coincide with the commemoration of the Battle of Lone Pine, which was part of the Gallipoli campaign and in which more than 2000 Diggers were killed or wounded in early August 1915.

“Because of the decision not to gazette a holiday for the Monday of the Anzac Day weekend, the Memorial has decided to reschedule the commemorative performance to a date in August around the Battle of Lone Pine commemoration,” an AWM spokesperson said.

“That will be subject to the availability of the artists.

“We will do everything we can to support the various sports in their commemoration of Australian sacrifice and commitment around Anzac Day.”

The Raiders are looking into designing a special Anzac jersey to wear at a home game in honour of the Gallipoli centenary, but they’re unsure when they will wear it.

Moving the AWM concert opens the way for them to play that on the Sunday, or it could be worn a week before or after the Anzac weekend.

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