Veteran and VC recipient Dan Keighran will play a central role when the Dolphins NRL side honours those who have made the ultimate sacrifice during their ANZAC Round game against the Gold Coast Titans on Sunday.
Dan joined RSL Queensland Deputy CEO Troy Watson and Dolphins NRL CEO Terry Reader in parkland at the end of Anzac Avenue today to see the club’s inaugural commemorative jersey and speak about the importance of ANZAC Round.
The jersey depicts the tree-lined Anzac Avenue, built after WWI as a memorial to local Diggers who were killed in battle. The road stretches from Petrie to Redcliffe.
Dolphins NRL CEO Terry Reader is thrilled with the result of careful consultation and planning.
“The RSL was one of the first calls we got after winning the bid wanting to make sure that we had it in our thinking about what would happen on our very first ANZAC Day,” Terry says.
“I think the significance of Anzac Avenue and what it means to the area … I think as you’ve seen by the design of our jersey … has been very central to our thinking.
“We couldn’t be happier with the work we’ve done with the RSL to bring everything to life for what will be a wonderful day on Sunday when we play the Titans. ANZAC Day is a day to stop and reflect on the service the Defence Force does for the people that are involved and what it means. Hearing the story of what Dan did and you think about that if you were in that situation …”
“We worked with the historian at Redcliffe Library on the meaning of Anzac Avenue and how we could depict it, so we could put it into our first ever ANZAC jersey to make sure we show a mark of respect of where we’re based and what it means.”
Dan, who will perform the coin toss before Sunday’s game, has a strong connection with the Redcliffe peninsula.
“I’m a life member of the RSL club here in Redcliffe and have been fortunate enough to come down a number of times over the years to commemorate and remember what those first ANZACs went through,” he says.
“The Australian and New Zealand soldiers over 100 years ago, heading to Gallipoli. It is about service, it’s about sacrifice … it’s about remembering all those individuals that unfortunately lost their lives - some 60,000 individuals lost their lives in the first World War.
“I think when we can come together as a nation and certainly ANZAC Round is that coming together, sporting teams getting out there and giving it their all … those original ANZACs and the qualities coming through on the field … I think it’s a great weekend of footy to come.”
Dan is under pressure to switch allegiances from the Brisbane Broncos to the Dolphins. His six-year-old son Jack is a Dolphins’ fan – following his Redcliffe-born mother’s lead.
“There’s some rivalry that’s developed at home already. It’s certainly generated a lot of interest with the Dolphins coming on board. I cannot wait for this weekend’s round,” he says.
RSL Queensland Deputy CEO Troy Watson values the partnership with the Dolphins.
“They’ve come looking straight away to make sure they commemorate effectively and in a considered way,” he says.
“Sport and the military have always had a really strong link and I think traditions like this starting up this year between ourselves and the Dolphins are a great way to continue to honour that link. We’ve all seen some of those images from that First World War battlefields in Egypt and, the like, in other wars – people playing cricket. Even touch football in Afghanistan, and State of Origin in Afghanistan.”
So, does he expect mateship and the spirit of the ANZACs to be on display on Sunday.
“I’d hope so, but I’d also hope … one of the key parts of mateship is not just looking after your mates but it’s getting stuck in when you can and having a crack at them and with a Queensland derby this weekend, hopefully we’ll see some of that as well,” Troy says.
The Dolphins are expecting a big crowd at Suncorp Stadium for the game which starts at 2pm. Tickets are still available.
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