It’s a question that can’t easily be answered, one that can see bias come to the fore and one that doesn’t have a definitive answer…What is Australia’s Greatest Sporting Rivalry?
So which rivalry is it? Is it at a national level, or an international level? Does the annual ANZAC Day match between Collingwood/Essendon in the AFL trump Australia v England in the Ashes, or vice-versa? Would the AFL fans jump or board the AFL or switch sides to the more traditional, definitive rivalry between Australia and England? This is where forms of bias can and will come into play. However, I’ll attempt to give you a teaser on some of the main rivalries for you to compare, including those two just mentioned.
Collingwood v Essendon – AFL (ANZAC Day match)
Behind only the Grand Final this has to be a game that everyone in Australia watches and supports. They are two teams that if you don’t follow them, you hate them which makes it even more interesting when they step over the white line onto the MCG on a day where everyone is paying attention. The match always draws a massive crowd at the ground and also nationally via the TV audience. The added passion of Australians on ANZAC Day and the will for both teams to impose themselves on each other and show that passion as a team to get over the line makes this match an intense battle enjoyed by everyone.
Australia v England – Cricket (Ashes)
One of the longest and greatest rivalries that still exists in sport today. As Aussies we love to beat the English in anything and everything and then let them know about it. The English love to beat us Aussies in anything and everything and then let us know about it. Up until recent years this series has been a formality, however the England side has now proven themselves as no pushovers and the Australian side has slipped down a few rungs. In any other sport and any other matchup, do two countries stand still to watch the events that unfold like they do for these Ashes series.
Australia v New Zealand – Netball
This is a rivalry that has been going on for quite some time, however it hasn’t had the attention it truly deserves, until now. The majority of their matches go to overtime and even if they don’t, the winning margin is usually below five goals. Australians love to beat their cross Tasman counterparts and vice-versa for NZ, in any sport. With Australia and NZ sharing a national competition in netball the two teams see each others individual players more often than not and as such provide the close games seen over the years. A very fast rising rivalry that is finally getting more coverage.
New South Wales v Queensland – Rugby League (State of Origin)
One of the few remaining State of Origin series remaining in a national competition in Australia. This series ignites passion and flare unlike any other and truly makes that border crossing an invisible wall. A series that has been dominated by QLD in the last decade yet still builds such fire in the souls of everyone from the respective states that the matches are far greater than any other. A true State of Origin series!
Inter-city Rivalries – All Sports
In all sports at the national level there are the almost compulsory Melbourne v Melbourne or Sydney v Sydney style of rivalry. In the National Basketball League there is Cairns v Townsville, in the A-League Melbourne Victory v Melbourne Heart and so on and so forth. While these rivalries are much smaller in the grand scheme of things, for each city and their fan base these rivalries are massive and mean much bragging rights for the winner.
So now I turn it over to you – What is Australia’s Greatest Sporting Rivalry? Select your option in the poll below, if you select other please leave a comment saying what it was and why you believe it to be the greatest rivalry!