NRL ANZAC round attracts significant support from a collection of clubs
NRL and Invictus Australia partnership supports veterans across the country
At Invictus Australia, our motto is ‘Unconquered Together’. Together with our partners, collaborators and community, we work to support veterans and their families through the power of sport. We partner with national sporting organisations and major sporting bodies to deliver opportunities for the Defence community across sport at all levels – grassroots through to the international stage.
One of our impactful partnerships to date is with the National Rugby League. The strength of this partnership was reinforced during the NRL’s 2022 ANZAC Day round, one of the most significant weekends of play on the footy calendar. As the team commemorated Australia’s National Day of Remembrance, many clubs committed to helping the veteran community through various initiatives. All funds raised over the NRL ANZAC Round aid Invictus Australia in its mission to strengthen the recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration of veterans through the power of sport.
On behalf of Australia’s defence community, invictus australia would like to thank the following NRL teams
St George Illawarra Dragons
Anzac Round, Anzac Day Cup: Dragons v Rooster at the SCG
The 21st annual ANZAC day match – which is the main match of the ANZAC round – saw St George Illawarra go head-to-head with traditional rivals Sydney Roosters and come out victorious.
The match was started with an impressive show from The Australian Defence Force’s Red Berets parachute display team kicking off the match as they jumped into the Sydney Cricket Ground to deliver the NRL Anzac Day match game ball. It really was an incredible sight.
The Dragons donned their 2022 commemorative jersey at the match. The jersey honoured our ANZACs with the traditional Poppy ‘V’ design and the ever-appropriate rosemary above the club logo. The jersey also featured the Australian and New Zealand flags, the words ‘Lest We Forget’ and the iconic ANZAC slouch. The ANZAC Round Match-Worn Jerseys will be auctioned off with proceeds from each winning bid to be donated to Invictus Australia.
Invictus Australia was also named St George’s Charity Partner for the games’ 50-50 Charity Raffle. Tickets into the 50-50 Charity Raffle are sold and the winning ticket is drawn at halftime. The winner receives 50 per cent of the total prize pool, while the remaining 50 per cent was donated to Invictus Australia.
To top off this incredible game, Invictus Australia ambassador, RAAF veteran, former NRLW player and now coach, Meg Ward, played a key role in the ANZAC activities, riding on the back of the Army trucks acknowledging the crowd, and promoting the partnership with Invictus Australia.
Now in its 3rd year, our partnership with the Eels has gone from strength to strength
To commemorate ANZAC day this year, the Paramatta Eels players proudly wore their specially designed ANZAC Day jersey in their match against Newcastle Knights. And again, $10 from every ANZAC Day jersey sold will be donated to Invictus Australia in support of our work delivering opportunities for veterans and their families to engage in sport around the country.
Jim Sarantinos, Parramatta Eels CEO said that the ANZAC Day round is always a special event in the NRL calendar and the perfect opportunity to highlight the work of Invictus Australia.
“We are proud to work with Invictus Australia and to help support Veterans and their families for their service to our country. ANZAC Round is particularly special as we remember the brave men and women who have served our nation, and have given their lives to preserve the peace and freedom we all now enjoy. ”
Invictus Games competitor in The Hague and die-hard Parra fan, Shannon Stewart, is proud of the partnership between Invictus Australia and the NRL.
“I’m proud that my (Eels) team is helping raise funds for Invictus Australia through the ANZAC jersey. And I appreciate all the support from Invictus Australia in preparing and getting me to these Invictus Games. I look forward to continuing with sport at my local club when I get home.”
Forget a round of applause, the Raiders deserve a Viking Clap!
The Canberra Raiders have also come onboard as avid supporters of both Invictus Australia and Wheelchair Rugby League. In the lead up to the ANZAC day round, the Raiders played their home game against the North Queensland Cowboys. The club invited Invictus Australia and some members of the Defence community along to the game, where they played messages of support to Team Australia, who had just landed in The Hague for the Invictus Games.
The Raiders disability team played in the curtain-raiser match, plus a wheelchair rugby league activation took place in the West Forecourt where guests were encouraged to jump in the chairs and give ‘murder ball’ a try! Don’t worry, there were no injuries, just a lot of fun and laughter.
Knights recognise Australian soldiers in the lead up to the NRL ANZAC Day round
Ahead of the ANZAC round, the Newcastle Knights proudly wore a special edition ANZAC jersey to pay tribute to all Australian and New Zealand personnel who have served their country. The team lined up ahead of the game in a show of solidarity, remembrance and commemoration of our ANZACs and the Defence community.
Invictus Australia was honoured to be named the charity partner for the Knights 50-50 Charity Raffle during the ANZAC round as well. The team even rallied the local community to support with volunteers from Singleton Junior Rugby League Club joining the cause by selling tickets to the raffle.
Battlefields to Footy Fields
It’s not just about competing – it’s about volunteers, coaches, mentors and more
We’ve been working with the Battlefields to Footy Fields (B2F) program for years, as it’s a wonderful pathway for Defence veterans to stay involved in sport and assist with recovery. It is an NRL initiative that provides nationally recognised training for veterans through officiating and sport trainer ranks. It focuses on the technical, educational and personal developments of participants aged 13 and above to become a Referee or Sports Trainer. There are also opportunities for veterans with physical impairments to join the program as mentors.
This year, the program provided the referees for the ANZAC Round curtain raiser match between Turkey and the Australia Defence Force team at the SCG.
Launched in 2019 B2F is a ground-breaking NRL initiative for current and ex-serving ADF members and their family which provides the tools and support they need to referee rugby league, whilst assisting with their reintegration into their local community. It can have a life-changing impacting on a veteran and their family.
Michael Hartung is the CEO of Invictus Australia and is proud to be in partnership with the NRL on the B2F program.
“Battlefields to Footy Fields is a hugely successful program that’s having a big impact. The team at the NRL support our veteran community every step of the way,” Michael said.
Invictus Australia could not do their work without the support of our sporting partners, bodies and organisations, government, corporate Australia and the public. If you are interested in learning more, or would like to donate visit invictusaustrlia.org.