It’s the round of football and netball that really does hit at the heart of what it means to be Australian – Anzac Round – an eight-day commemoration of the sacrifice of our service men and women to give us the freedoms that we enjoy today.
For Frankston Bombers coach Beau Muston the connection between sporting clubs and Anzac Day has given a real understanding of those sacrifices.
“Since I’ve been at the club Chris (Bombers President Chris Sharman) has pushed hard to get the group to understand what the day represents,” Muston said, ahead of the Anzac Round clash against Frankston YCW.
“We go as a group to the dawn service and it’s great for the younger generation to get some education on the sacrifices people made to give us what we have today.
“We’re looking forward to forming a huge rivalry with YCW and paying our respects through football. The people who fight for our country do it a lot tougher than we do on the sporting field.”
Anzac Day means everything to Jack Kowarzik from Pakenham.
His great-grandfather was a Captain in Tobruk, his grandfather Alec Kowarzik a stoker in the Korean War and a man who instilled in his grandson the importance of not taking anything for granted.
“My earliest memories of Anzac Day are going to dawn service at the Dandenong RSL with my grandpa, my brother and my dad,” Jack said.
“My grandpa was president of the RSL at the time and told us that if people can sacrifice their lives for our way of life, we can sacrifice a couple of hours to reminisce and listen to their stories.
”I really do encourage people to attend their local dawn service and reflect for a short time on the sacrifices that were made for our country – and be grateful for it.”
Such is Kowarzik’s passion for Anzac Day he initially thought it wrong that football should be played on the day…but his thoughts have swung around.
“I thought it wasn’t appropriate, but love that it makes everyone think about it and brings it to the fore,“ he said.
“It’s become such a positive thing and a privilege to play on the day, not for the footy but to pay homage to the day itself. In that minute’s silence, I don’t think about footy at all, I think about my grandpa and the people who didn’t make it back.”
Kowarzik’s last words are chilling in the current environment.
“Imagine if a war broke out tomorrow and all the players on my team had to go. Just think how many of them wouldn’t come back and how horrible that would be.”
AFL South East would like to pay our respects, on behalf of our member clubs, to the men and women who have served our country.
Please click on the Australian flag above for a video tribute to them all.