ANZAC Day holds a special place in the hearts of all Australians and we are proud that Rugby League can play a part in honouring the men and women, both past and present, who have dedicated their lives to the service of our country
2011 ANZAC Day match in Sydney country and who have inspired a Rugby League ANZAC Day tradition that to this day captures the hearts of fans both here in Australia and New Zealand, and around the world. It is their legacy that will again be honoured, along with that of all of our nation’s service men and women, both past and present, in two Rugby League ANZAC Day matches in 2012 that have become some of the most celebrated events of the Telstra Premiership season. While the long-standing clash between the St George Illawarra Dragons and Sydney Roosters in Sydney has become a gathering point for war veterans and current service personnel after the city’s ANZAC Day march, such is the significance of the ANZAC Day tradition in Rugby League that it has grown to feature a second match in Melbourne with a true ‘ANZAC’ clash between the Melbourne Storm and New Zealand Warriors. “ANZAC Day holds a special place in the hearts of all Australians and we are proud that Rugby League can play a part in honouring the men and women, both past and present, who have dedicated their lives to the service of our country,” Australian Rugby League Commission Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop, says. “It signifies the connection Rugby League has with the community and the way that our clubs, players and supporters embrace these matches
shows what it means to them to be able to honour our service personnel in this way.” The ANZAC Day matches continue a tradition that dates back to 1926 when, on the first ANZAC Day holiday Monday, foundation clubs Easts and Balmain played in front of 20,000 fans at the Sydney Cricket Ground and Newtown and Sydney University played at Glebe’s Wentworth Park, with the first Rugby League match on ANZAC Day played in 1927, when Glebe met Western Suburbs, also at the SCG. Last year Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith VC MG – a Roosters fan – honoured Rugby League by being part of an official ceremony which each year is developed in consultation with RSL NSW and the Australian Defence Force to honour Australian and New Zealand service personnel, both past and present, as well as a post-match ceremony that features the presentation of the perpetual ANZAC Cup to the winning team from the Roosters-Dragons match and the Spirit of ANZAC Award to the Man of the Match. “I have played in Grand Finals, in State of Origins and for Australia but this match has a special atmosphere that sets it apart,” says Sydney Roosters fullback Anthony Minichiello. “It’s a day that means so much to all Australians and to be part of an event like this that honours our troops is for me very humbling.” Storm and Kiwi Test winger Matt Duffie adds: “I’m very proud of my New Zealand heritage and it’s also an honour to play on ANZAC Day representing an Australian team. “It’s a an inspirational story the way the Australian and New Zealand soldiers came together to form the ANZACs and as a Kiwi who now lives in Australia I feel a lot of pride in how they served their countries.”
The DragonsRoosters match will kick-off at 4pm at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium on ANZAC Day while the Storm-Warriors match will start at 7pm at Melbourne’s AAMI Park.
2011 ANZAC Day match in Sydney, Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith VC MG with ARLC Chief Executive David Gallop and the ANZAC Cup 2011 ANZAC Day match in Sydney
2011 ANZAC Day match in Sydney
The Last Post magazine - Autumn 2012 - Anzac Day Special