The moment that Australian and New Zealand forces landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915, a legend was born. The ANZACs displayed courage and mateship and that has filtered throughout the generations in many different ways. Today, as a way to show respect, the Melbourne Storm and Vodafone Warriors will play against each other and show that the legend of mateship lives on.
On the morning of the 25th of April 1915, Australian and New Zealand soldiers joined the Allied troops’ expedition to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula. This territory was key to providing resistance to the advances of Germany and their allies.
The soldiers stayed on for an eight-month campaign that would go on to claim the lives of 8,708 Australians and 2,721 New Zealanders.
Now, 104 years later, ANZAC Day has become one of Australia’s and New Zealand’s most important commemorative occasions. Both countries honour those who served for their contribution and sacrifice. Through dawn services, marches and most recently football matches, generations of Australians and New Zealanders have found a way to acknowledge the ANZACs’ sacrifice and pay their respects.
Why we love ANZAC Day footy
There is something about ANZAC Day and playing footy on such a memorable day that sees players lift, resulting in many memorable games. Once the ball is kicked off the tee, any player who has the privilege of playing on ANZAC Day puts in 110 percent for 80 minutes, resulting in some of the closest finishes in NRL history.
Take 2014 for example. Greg Inglis scores arguably the try of the year, scooping up the ball 12 metres from his own try line before planting the ball down for a four pointer in the corner. This solo effort from their captain inspires the South Sydney Rabbitohs to a victory that is only sealed in the last minute of the game.
If that doesn’t do it for you how about 2005’s ANZAC Day match between the Sydney Roosters and Saint George. The Dragons had lost five of their six opening games. The players and coach Nathan Brown were feeling the pressure as it seemed they were about to face their sixth defeat. Yet, with three minutes to go, Dragons halfback Matthew Head pulls out two plays to ensure their final minutes defeat of the Roosters.
Vodafone Warriors vs. Melbourne Storm
The Dragons and Roosters may compete for the ANZAC Day Cup, but the most exciting ANZAC Day clashes have in recent years belonged to the Warriors and the Storm as both teams pull out all the stops to ensure they emerge victorious on this historic day.
The 2019 ANZAC Day clash between the Warriors and the Storm will be held at the Storm’s home ground, AAMI Park, kicking off at 7:50pm local time.
While Melbourne may have notched up more victories, the Warriors have played some of their best football against the Storm. In Round 20, 2008, the Warriors ended the game’s longest individual winning streak, securing an 8-6 victory eight minutes from full time.
The Warriors were again victors only mere weeks later in the 2008 qualifying finals, creating history by becoming the first eighth-placed team to beat the Minor Premiers under the McIntyre Finals System that was introduced in 1999.
However, Melbourne have achieved coach Craig Bellamy’s self-described best ever win while playing the Warriors in 2007, winning a grinding 4-2 clash.
On such a historic day, look to both teams captains to play in the ANZAC spirit. Cameron Smith will unite his team in defence while Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will inspire his team with his flamboyant attack.
Smith, who has played more NRL games and scored more NRL points than any other player will lead his team in defence while also being sure to provide a spark in attack should the situation require it. He hasn’t been voted Dally M Hooker of the Year seven times for nothing.
The key to the Warriors winning will be the Tuivasa-Sheck factor. The 2018 Dally M Medallist will look to add to his 2019 try and try-assist tally while also making some big defensive reads on his try line, knowing that the key to beating Melbourne at home is to attack well and defend even better.
Spurred on by their special edition ANZAC Day jersey designed by Canterbury, the Warriors will not only look the part but will play with the ideals of mateship and tirelessness at the fore. 5% of their ANZAC Day jersey sales will be donated to the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association. The iconic design symbolises all those that came together to fight for our freedom. Showing just how much of a privilege it is to play on ANZAC Day.
Looking for a stylish and meaningful jersey to wear throughout ANZAC Round? Keen to put on a special jersey to remember the Warriors 25th season? Support the New Zealand Warriors in their brand-new ANZAC Day Commemorative Jersey from Canterbury.