ANZAC Day is a proud day for Australians, as we remember the brave service men and women who have served to protect our country and given their lives for our nation.
West Adelaide have had many members of the community who have served this country and we are forever proud and grateful for the sacrifices they have made. Over 200 past players have served, with families such as the Bennett’s, the Cassebohm’s and the Tonkin’s during World War II. We are especially grateful for past players Leslie Brown, Harold Cade, Ross Hudson, Harold Jarvis, Mark McGrath, Walter Morgan, James Moy, Jack Warming and Charles Woods who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our great nation.
SANFL Hall of Famer Rodney Pope served for Australia in the Vietnam War through 1966 & 1967. He was conscripted in 1966 to leave Richmond Oval and join the armed forces. The future 200 gamer for The Bloods, two time best & fairest winner and 10-time South Australia representative was tasked as a refueller responsible for keeping the Australians forces on the move. Stationed in Nui Dat and Vung Tau for 10 months Pope ensured to still hone his footy skills playing on makeshift ovals with his fellow service man. Pope was is a true West Adelaide and Australian hero due for the way he represented both his club and country.
West Adelaide had a rich history between World War I and World War II showing the strength of the club to rebound after such tough times. Following the completion of World War I and recommencement of the SANFL competition West Adelaide enjoyed a period of success, having some of the great players of the era represent the Bloods. 1926 saw Bruce McGregor become West Adelaide’s 4th Magarey Medalist, which he followed up in 1927 as captain- coach going back to back and helping transition the club to a new home at the Wayville Showgrounds. West Adelaide would go on to cap off their debut season at the Wayville by winning all their home games, the minor premiership and beating North Adelaide in the Grand Final by two goals. West Adelaide would have three other Magarey Medalists winners between World War I and II, with Bobbie Barnes in 1922, Bob Snell in 1929 and Jack Sexton in 1931.
West Adelaide would go on to achieve one of the clubs most successful periods following the end of World War II. Between 1946 to 1963 the club only missed the finals five times, playing in seven Grand Finals and winning two in 1947 and 1961. This is a testament to the club and its supporters for being able to recover quickly and continue a strong culture following a period of great suffering in the world.
This year West Adelaide will remember our service men and women on ANZAC Day Eve playing against Glenelg at City Mazda Stadium. To honor the troops West Adelaide has teamed up with charity Heroes on the Homefront who support veterans returning from service in gaining the skills and knowledge to become home owners. Some funds raised from the game will go back to those who have served and require much-needed assistance.
On gameday serving and ex serving defence members from the RAAF base Edinburgh will be present bringing with them a Military Bush Master Vehicle for display. Fans will be afforded the opportunity to look around the vehicle and take photos with it, as well as meet current and past service members.
Heroes of the Homefront will be sending serving defence members to attend our pre match lunch, as well as guest speaker Chad McLaren. Chad is a former member of the Australian Defence Force who served for 9 years as an infantry soldier and advanced medic in the Navy, in addition to being a paramedic and is strong advocate for veterans’ affairs.
Additionally, the match between West Adelaide and Glenelg on Wednesday the 24th of April will be free for all service personal and their families to attend as a way of offering our support. If members of the West Adelaide Football club would like to support Heroes on the Homefront further on Saturday July the 27th there is the 42km Walk for Veterans with PTS beginning at 6am at Seacliff SLSC, where the aim is to raise funds and awareness for organisations that support veterans.
On ANZAC Day all members of the West Adelaide family are invited to attend the dawn service which will take place at the West Torrens Memorial Gardens at 6am on behalf of the Hilton RSL. The event will be attended by our Under 18’s and 16’s and will be a great way of showing your respects to our falling soldiers.
Come down to City Mazda Stadium on ANZAC Day Eve and show your support by helping us remember our brave service men and women in a crucial clash under lights against Glenelg at 7:20pm.