Sea Eagles launch Anzac jersey
Sea Eagles players with strong family ties to the armed forces have launched the club's commemorative Anzac Day jersey at Harbord Diggers.
Tom Symonds, Blake Leary, Josh Starling and Tyson Andrews modelled the maroon and tan strip featuring the silhouette of a bugler playing the Last Post at the Freshwater-based club among the venue's Anzac history displays.
Two veterans from the Australian armed forces, 99-year-old World War II veteran Wal Edwards and Vietnam veteran Sean Rout, were on hand to share their first-hand accounts with the players.
The side travels to Melbourne on Anzac Day – which falls on a Saturday this year in Round 8 – as the fourth in a five-game festival of rugby league.
Symonds, whose grandfather served in World War II, said the event really puts things in perspective.
"Going into Anzac Round it gives us a bit of history and puts it in perspective and makes you think about what's actually important. It's going to be an important occasion," he said.
"It's massive – being part of a footy game, it doesn't compare to the war but being able to commemorate it and being part of a big occasion celebrating the Anzacs because that's what it's all about, showing our respects to them, is going to be awesome.
"I know it'll be pretty touching when we're out there getting ready for the game and the Last Post playing and all that sort of stuff."
Symonds, who never managed to play in the traditional Roosters and Dragons Anzac Day clash in his time at Bondi through injury, said he was also looking forward to the extra celebrations on the day.
"Everything that goes with it – we're going to be walking out with some ex-servicemen and wearing the special kit, it's all going to add to the excitement of the day," he said.
Leary said it had been a privilege to hear from the two veterans ahead of such an important day on the national calendar.
"We're very lucky what these men and what every Anzac has done for us, it's pretty amazing," Leary said.
"Just to hear some of the stuff they had to say and to see how they all feed off each other. They were having a laugh but comparing different ration packs, it's amazing what they went through and just to be here talking to them is an honour."