The Penrith Panthers have launched a special ANZAC jersey to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Australian and New Zealand troops landing at Gallipoli.
The Panthers, in association with DefenceCare, are set to highlight the significance of ANZAC Day by playing in a jersey that will be sponsorship free.
Major sponsor Oak, Hertz, ASICS, HostPlus and Lion Nathan (Tooheys) agreed to forfeit their rights to be on Penrith's jersey and shorts for their Round 8 clash against Cronulla Sharks at Pepper Stadium in honour of Australian and New Zealand servicemen and women.
Panthers' General Manager Phil Gould said sponsors unanimously gave up "their positions in respect to the men and women who have fought for our country" to make Penrith's tribute possible.
Craig Thompson, Chief Operating Officer and Director of the Panthers' sleeve sponsor Hertz, said Penrith's ANZAC initiative is something that has been planned over the past two months.
"I was approached by Gus Gould in early February where we had a meeting and he proposed the idea to me and the reasons around why he wanted to make a unique contribution to the NRL's ANZAC Round," Thompson told NRL.com.
"He said he needed all the major sponsors to contribute to it otherwise it wouldn't work.
"My last discussion with Gus was about a week or so after, where we discussed how we would have a sponsorship-less jersey – in partnership with DefenceCare – to commemorate the ANZACs and we were on board straight away."
While every NRL club will commemorate ANZAC Day in their own way, Thompson said Gould pitched the idea to all five kit sponsors to take the Panthers' tribute a step further.
"Gus told me that every NRL club recognises ANZAC Day on their jersey but the Panthers wanted to step it up another level. It needed the contribution of all the sponsors to make it happen and we agreed wholeheartedly," Thompson said.
"From Hertz Australia's perspective, it is a unique opportunity for us to contribute in some way to an NRL jersey which is solely dedicated to the ANZAC spirit.
"It's a huge honour for us to have contributed to allow the jersey to be out there by giving up our sponsorship in honour of the ANZACs."
The NRL will celebrate ANZAC Day, Saturday April 25, with an unprecedented five-game schedule which will see games in Auckland, Newcastle, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
The Panthers will compliment this schedule by playing the Sharks the next day, with $20 to be donated to DefenceCare for every Panthers ANZAC jersey sold.
For more information visit penrithpanthers.com.au