Play emboldened by history: Joey’s set to host ANZAC Day bouts
THIS year’s Geelong Football Netball League (GFNL) ANZAC Day games head to Herne Hill Reserve on Monday as the matchup dating back more than 15 years promises another round of action inspired by history.
Geelong’s traditional ANZAC Day GFL clash between St Joseph’s and South Barwon is again on the horizon as the contest brings with it an air of enthusiasm due to higher attendance levels compared to recent years.
“It’s an honour each and every year to take part in this contest as representatives of the GFL for a standalone game,” St Joseph’s president Todd Devine said.
“We hope each and every year that we honour and acknowledge the great work and great sacrifice made by so many of our servicemen and servicewomen.
“Playing this game is a privilege that we do not take lightly and on ANZAC Day, a day we hope to do it service.”
The yearly matchup is a consequence of one man’s involvement with the two clubs.
Ex-Joey’s senior football coach Mark Hovey formerly played as a South Barwon player, which became the catalyst for an ANZAC Day game to be played each year between the two sides.
South Barwon captain Matt Caldow knows first-hand how different the ANZAC Day game is compared to others.
“It’s such a massive privilege and we’re all so proud to be a part of this game,” Caldow said.
“It draws a big crowd and there is so much history in the day itself.
“Jack [Stevens], our football manager is an ex-serviceman, has spoken with the team about what the game means to him and we all carry with us that message.
“We’re proud to be part of this tradition.”
The day’s proceedings are relatively similar to any other day of local football or netball.
Times for earlier games will be brought forward 30 minutes to accommodate the service taking place at 1.30pm before the headline games.
The Geelong Memorial Band will perform the service’s Ode and Last Post before the president of the Geelong RSL gives his pre-game speech.
Both clubs will then lay commemorative wreaths, raise national flags and line up before gameplay.
Men’s football will take place on Drew Oval, women’s football, being played between St Joseph’s and Drysdale, is slated to take place on Walker Oval and netball will take place on the adjoining netball courts.
Devine expects the club to host half a dozen games in total on the day.
Senior games are scheduled for 2.15pm with St Joseph’s currently holding football’s ANZAC Day Cup and South Barwon with netball’s from last year’s bouts.