The National Rugby League will honour the 10 Australian soldiers killed in action in Afghanistan this year in a moving tribute at half-time of tomorrow’s NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final that will conclude with the traditional arrival of a Blackhawk helicopter.

The tribute, which will be broadcast live on the Nine Network, will pay respect to the 21 Australian soldiers killed in combat since Australia’s contribution began in 2002 and to the 150 soldiers wounded.

Family members of the 21 fallen soldiers will watch as the soldiers’ names are displayed on the big-screen at ANZ Stadium, where Rugby League fans will welcome the arrival of a Blackhawk helicopter, from the 6th Aviation Regiment, just before the end of the half-time break.

“The Australian Defence Force has been a part of Grand Final Day for many years and we are proud to honour those soldiers killed and wounded in action in Afghanistan,” NRL Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop, said.

“We hope in some small way the Grand Final Day tribute will help the families of these soldiers and let them know they have our sympathy and our support.

“The tribute is also a chance to recognise all our troops currently serving in Australia and around the world and to thank them for the important work they do.

“Fans inside the Stadium can do this by giving the Blackhawk a huge cheer and a wave when it arrives, to let them and all the troops watching the game around the world know that we support them.”

The traditional arrival of the Blackhawk helicopter has become one of the highlights of the NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final which will be watched by many of the 3,300 Australian Defence Force personnel currently deployed in eight different countries.

"The Blackhawk helicopter, from the Australian Army's 6th Aviation Regiment, is supporting this year's NRL Grand Final as part of a tribute to the 10 Australian soldiers killed in action in Afghanistan this year,” a Defence spokesperson said.

"We expect that many of the 3,300 ADF personnel who are currently deployed overseas will be tuning in to the Grand Final.

“The Australian Defence Force would like to thank the NRL for their support and wishes both teams the best of luck in this Sunday’s big match."

The 21 fallen soldiers to be honoured at Sunday’s NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final are:

- Lance Corporal Jared MacKinney, 6th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment
- Private Tomas Dale, 6th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment
- Private Grant Kirby, 6th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment
- Trooper Jason Brown, Special Air Service Regiment
- Private Nathan Bewes, 6th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment
- Private Benjamin Chuck, 2nd Commando Regiment
- Private Scott Palmer, 2nd Commando Regiment
- Private Timothy Aplin, 2nd Commando Regiment
- Sapper Darren Smith, 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment
- Sapper Jacob Moerland, 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment
- Private Benjamin Ranaudo, 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment
- Sergeant Brett Till, Incident Response Regiment
- Corporal Mathew Hopkins, 7th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment
- Private Gregory Sher, 1st Commando Regiment
- Lieutenant Michael Fussell, 4th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (Commando)
- Signaller Sean McCarthy, Special Air Service Regiment
- Lance Corporal Jason Marks, 4th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (Commando)
- Private Luke Worsley, 4th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (Commando)
- Sergeant Matthew Locke, Special Air Service Regiment
- Trooper David Pearce, 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment
- Sergeant Andrew Russell, Special Air Service Regiment.