The Gold Coast SUNS will join the other 17 AFL Clubs in remembering all those who have served and are currently serving in the Australian and New Zealand Defence Forces during this year’s ANZAC Round.
SUNS Senior Coach Stuart Dew says the entire ANZAC Round is a fantastic initiative and it means a lot to the players to be a part of such a significant round of footy.
“I know years ago when it was just one game and the rest of the league probably felt like they had something to contribute,” Dew said.
“I think we’re in our third year with RSL Queensland… it’s an outstanding relationship… we’re trying to bring awareness to the ANZAC weekend and what it’s become in terms of AFL footy.
“We’d like to see as many people at dawn services and pay our respects.
“Our guernsey really reflects that ANZAC spirit, our colours work really well with the rising of the sun … and the players are really excited to wear the ANZAC guernsey and wear it with pride.”
President of the Nerang RSL Sub Branch, Stewart McGettigan, who will deliver the Ode of Remembrance in the pre-match ceremony, shared Dew’s sentiments on the guernsey design.
“The colours virtually dictate the rising sun. It’s very well done and very well put together,” McGettigan said.
The veteran with 30 years of service with the Royal Australian Air Force said there are similarities shared between the diggers and a footy team.
“You must work together, and we are all meant to be a team. It’s the same as a football game. You’re out there for your mates and to look after your mates.
“You make sacrifices. It’s no different. You work together and you look after each other.
“The ANZAC Round means a lot, and the ANZAC spirit teaches us a lot about life. It teaches us to work as teams, and to always be there for your mate and to look after your mate.
“You must look after him, because after all it’s the ANZAC spirit of courage, sacrifice and more importantly mateships. That’s why we need to enforce that.”
The RSL Sub Branch President was proud to see clubs like the SUNS embrace ANZAC Day and partner with RSL Queensland to host ANZAC services pregame.
“I think it’s extremely important and I’m proud that football teams do it,” Mr McGettigan said.
“I’ve been to a number of ANZAC Day game, the way the embrace it, the spirit in which you see in a lot of ANZAC Day games, there seems to be that extra will to win. People tend to put their bodies on the line a lot more.
“In those games, people are playing for a bit more than winning a footy game. They’re there, apart from representing their club and their supporters, it’s a day that they represent the veteran community as a whole.
“We’ve got people, whether it be in theatres of war or on peacekeeping missions right throughout the world right now, and I think the players take that into consideration too. There just seems to be that extra spirit on ANZAC Day.”