When the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys take on the Canberra Raiders at Queensland Country Bank Stadium the night before Anzac Day, they will be honouring the sacrifices, past and present, of the men and women of our Defence forces.
Proudly supported by Townsville City Council, the Defence match on April 24 will include a moving pre-game Anzac remembrance ceremony with both teams lined up on-field and include The Ode, The Last Post, and both the Australian and New Zealand anthems.
The Cowboys will wear their specially designed Defence jersey which features a sprig of rosemary accompanied by a poppy - the emblem of fidelity and remembrance on Anzac Day.
There are also subtle hints of camouflage throughout the jersey and the words ‘We Called, They Served’ are written on each sleeve in tribute to those who served and fell for our country.
Cowboys CEO Jeff Reibel said it was fast becoming a tradition for the club and Townsville City Council to join forces in honouring the selfless service of the brave men and women who keep our country safe.
“While we were not able to go ahead with hosting NRL Anzac Round last year due to the shutdown, the Cowboys and the Council thought it essential to pay homage to our service men and women once our season was back up and running and so created a tribute event which we termed Defence Round.
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“It is with great pleasure that we once again team up to host our second Defence Round with the added bonus of being able to do it leading into Anzac Day. Having the opportunity to honour our Defence community through our jersey, our entertainment, our guard of honour and remembrance ceremony is a privilege and allows us to show both our gratitude and respect for past and present Defence men and women.”
Council Community Health, Safety and Environmental Sustainability committee chairperson Maurie Soars said Townsville was proud to be Australia’s largest garrison city.
“Townsville has a long and proud connection with our nation’s defence forces. Today around 13 per cent of our population identifies as being current or former Defence force personnel or their family,” Cr Soars said.
“Through our sponsorship of this game, Townsville City Council celebrates our city’s connection to the defence forces.
We commemorate the sacrifice the men and women of the defence forces made for our country today and in past conflicts and we celebrate the contribution that the ADF makes to our community today.
“This year we particularly celebrate the Royal Australian Air Force, which is celebrating it’s 100th anniversary.
RAAF Base Townsville was established in the 1940s and we’re proud to have it here.”
In a further show of support, the Cowboys are offering two-for-one tickets in specific Eastern and Southern bays for all Defence and RSL service personnel. The offer can be redeemed in person at a Ticketmaster outlet (Cowboys Leagues Club/Stockland) upon presentation of a Defence or RSL service ID or from
4:45pm on game day at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.
Prior to the remembrance ceremony, there will be a curtain raiser between Army Thunder and the Palm Island Skipjacks competing for the Bill Coolburra Shield followed by on-field entertainment by the 1RAR band.
Members and fans will have the opportunity to secure their own piece of NRL Anzac Round memorabilia when the 17 player-signed, match-worn Defence jerseys are auctioned on cowboys.com.au.
The auction opens at 1.30pm on Sunday 25 April, with all proceeds going to the Cowboys Community Foundation.
5pm Gates open at 5pm
5:10pm Bill Coolburra Shield
6:50pm 1RAR Performance
7:30pm Remembrance Ceremony
7:35pm Cowboys v Raiders kick-off