Blackhawks honoured to play Anzac Day
April 25th is one of those rare days when football comes secondary.
The very reason we even have a National Rugby League is because of the sacrifices life's real heroes made a century ago.
That's the message the Intrust Super Cup's Townsville Blackhawks are trying to circulate this Anzac Day.
The Blackhawks are hosting a top-of-the-table clash with the Easts Tigers at Jack Manski Oval on Saturday afternoon, but the match is just one more event in Townsville which recognises one of Australia's most important days.
Blackhawks football manager Adrian Thomson said his club is eager to add to the already rich military influence in the garrison city, in his club's inaugural Anzac Day fixture.
"I think it is another step forward in striving to express what we are about in our inaugural season," Thomson told NRL.com.
"Our entire presence is based around Townsville's strong ties to the military, from our name right through to what we stand for as a club within a garrison city.
"We would hope to set the mood of remembrance. Remembering those who have given so much for our country in conflict and the given us the freedoms we enjoy today."
With the help of the 5th Aviation Regiment, the Blackhawks will host a commemorative ceremony prior to the 5pm kick-off, with players also sporting special camouflage jerseys.
"Our players are honoured to take to the field on this national day of commemoration. I'm sure the emotion around the ground will be fitting of the occasion," Thomson said.
There is no year more fitting for the Blackhawks to introduce themselves to the rugby league community than the centenary of the Battle of Gallipoli, and Thomson says the community is buying in to what the club is trying to achieve.
Townsville's on-field performance is not hurting the cause either, sitting outright first at 6-1 after the first seven rounds.
"We are very happy with the way things have started," Thomson said of the club's first three months after their bid took years to get off the ground.
"We have been overwhelmed with the support we have received to date. Our corporate engagement has been exceptional and crowd attendance for the first 3 home games has been very encouraging.
"Before our acceptance into the Intrust Super Cup competition we were always of the opinion that we had to be competitive right from the get go."
Gates to Jack Manski Oval open at 11:30am for three lead-up games before the main event at 5pm.
In the other Anzac Day game, Burleigh hosts the PNG Hunters at Pizzey Park, while the Northern Pride and Souths Logan Magpies kick off a four-game Sunday at 12:30pm.