There are a handful of dates in the rugby league calendar that every footy fan can lock in as a big occasion before the season even starts, and right near the top of that list is Anzac Day.
2014 will mark the 13th occasion those traditional cross-Sydney rivals, the Sydney Roosters and St George Illawarra Dragons, and few players have a better sense of the occasion than current Dragons captain Ben Creagh.
On Friday April 25, Creagh will be suiting up in the Red V to play against the tricolours for the eleventh time on an Anzac Day, and does not hesitate to declare it is "honestly one of my favourite games of the year".
From the time the Roosters edged home 24-20 in 2002 this match has always borne out a fierce competitiveness above and beyond a regular season game. The Roosters' Brad Fittler-inspired 11-8 win in 2004 was as good a club game as you'll ever hope to see.
The Dragons have in fact dominated the clash historically, winning nine of 12 such meetings to date. And prior to the streak being broken in 2013 the Red V was triumphant in five consecutive years, from 2008 to 2012.
Creagh himself scored a double in the 28-24 win in 2012 and the sense of occasion is certainly not lost on him.
"I've been lucky enough to play the Anzac game with the Dragons the past 10 years," he said.
"It's a big occasion to play at the SFS in front of 30- or 40-thousand fans on such a special day in Australia. It's a huge buzz and we're very privileged to be a part of it.
"It's a public holiday, there's a lot of Dragons fans, a lot of Roosters fans, it's a great atmosphere, the Blackhawk helicopter comes in before the game, the jet flies over sometimes – it's a very big day."
Because the April 25 date is locked in, the players know each year they only have to wait until Round 7 or 8 for the game to roll around – just enough time to hopefully hit the game in a bit of form, according to Creagh.
"Hopefully you've got a few wins under your belt by that stage and a bit of confidence because it definitely helps playing in the big games, both teams lift on such a big occasion," he said.