One of the great ANZAC day traditions occurs at the MCG every year when the Collingwood and Essendon football clubs clash in a game that recognises the ANZAC spirit of courage and mateship. This year Townsville will feature its own ANZAC Clash when local clubs, the Hermit Park Tigers and RMS Curra Swans, do battle in the inaugural ANZAC Clash at Tony Ireland Stadium on the eve of ANZAC Day.
The fixture was borne from the desire of the Hermit Park Football Club to honour the significant contribution the Defence Force make to our Nation, our City and our local sporting community, in particular that of AFL. Both the Tigers and Swans have a long history of embracing military personnel into their ranks, both as players and administrators. It is fitting then that’s these McMillan Park co- tenants go head to head on this occasion, for what is hoped will become an annual event on the AFL Townsville calendar.
In recognising the role sport plays in the lives of our local soldiers, the Army’s 3rd Brigade will be supporting the event with Army personnel partaking in the pre-game ANZAC memorial ceremony, inclusive of a local military bugler playing the last post.
With the game being played on a Wednesday night and ANZAC Day to follow, organisers are hopeful that the game will be appealing to not just local football lovers but also to those that have yet to see a game of local AFL and want to show their support of our military personnel.
Hermit Park Tigers president, Daniel Watts, acknowledged the game may take some time to grow in terms of being a marquee event on the local sporting calendar, but is confident that with Townsville being a Garrison city that locals would get behind the game and show their support for our military personnel.
“ANZAC Day is an incredibly important day for our Country and one that this city embraces, so by staging the game the night before we are hoping to give everyone that wants to come along and embrace the ANZAC spirit through football can do so. Local defence force personnel make a huge contribution to our community, and in particular or local AFL comp, so if we can recognise their efforts by having a game then that can only be a positive for the community and local footy” Mr Watts said.
Adding further interest to the game is that both teams will enter the game as the only two undefeated teams in the competition this year, and with both clubs fielding relatively young groups this year, fans should be treated to a fast flowing and high scoring affair on the open expanses of Tony Ireland Stadium.
The winning team will be awarded the newly struck ANZAC Cup, and the player adjudged best on ground will be awarded the AFL Townsville ANZAC Medal.
The main game kicks off at 8pm and will be preceded by the reserves game at 6pm. Official ceremonial formalities will commence around 7.40pm and will conclude with RSL President Bill Whitburn tossing the coin to get the action underway.
Gates open at 4pm. Entry for Adults is $6 and children under 16 free.