Ki, age 29, does not shy away from tough competition at a high level.
Playing Australian football for Western Sydney’s Premier Division side for six years back in Australia and now pulling on one of Europe’s powerhouse teams guernsey the past four years for the Wandsworth Demons, and even winning a premiership in the process.
Despite already making some big career moves and playing the game in multiple countries, Ki will be embarking on an adventure that will stand out as a highlight of his time in Europe this April.
Along with his 27 teammates, Ki will be heading to Northern France to the small town of Villers-Bretonneux, representing his home country in the Australian Spirit team against the French National Australian Rules Football Team.
This ANZAC Cup event on the 27th of April will be the 11th consecutive year that Australian Footballers have descended on Villers-Bretonneux for the commemorative matches.
“It’s an extremely humbling experience to represent my country and my family in the ANZAC Cup. Because of my family’s strong connection with the ANZACs and their sacrifices fighting in both World Wars, I’m honoured to play the game I love in their respects. It would also mean a great deal to me to stand where thousands of young Australian men gave their lives for a free world and to pay my respects.”
Now over 100 years ago since the monumental Battle of Villers-Bretonneux, the ANZAC Cup will again be a part of a big Australia Week for the locals. This week honours the diggers and the sacrifices they made, reclaiming the town against the German Forces on April 25th, 1918.
With many of his family having strong connections to the ANZACs and to the Armed Forces, Ki has a lot to play for and is honoured to represent his family in the match. These family ties went a long way towards Ki’s selection in the Australian squad, being one of just 28 very deserving members of the men’s and women’s teams.
Proud of his history, Ki has several great grandparents and uncles who have served in Australia’s armed forces.
“I believe this experience will mean not only a great deal for myself and my family, but in particular I think it will mean a lot for my uncles who served, and for my grandparents whose parents were returned veterans. To play in this game for my family would be exceptionally special.”
With his bloodline spanning back to WW1, Ki’s great-great Grandfather Bert Speary fought in Gallipoli, eventually losing his arm fighting for his country. This incredible family continues to WW2 where another great grandfather, Thomas Speary and brother Joseph Speary fought with the ANZACs all over the world. Although these two brothers were born in England they grew up in Australia, where not long after moving, they fought with the ANZACs, gaining many honourable medals for their service.
If this wasn’t enough, these brave men were only a part of Ki’s mother’s side of the family. On his father’s side, great-great uncles of Cyril and John Coughlin both fought in armed forces in WW2. Noble Cyril rescued downed pilots in the RAAF while his brother John was a Staff Sergeant in the Navy until captured and killed by the Japanese.
To slightly more recent times a few of Ki’s Uncles in John Coughlin fought in the Vietnam War, where he thankfully returned home in 1971, while his other Uncle Damon Currie served in the Australian Army and the RAAF between 1991 and 2015. Damon received an Australian Active Service Medal among many other medals for his great work.
With such close family connections to the ANZACs and so many different family members serving for the country over the last decade, Ki has much of his own family’s history to reflect on when he lines up with his Australian Spirit teammates this Anzac Day.
Ki’s passion and emotion seems to be building each day it gets closer to the event, having visited many memorial and battle sites around Europe in the past. Though some amazing experiences, Ki says nothing will top his time in Villers-Bretonneux, where the ANZAC Cup match will become a treasured moment for his family and himself forever.
Special thanks to the National Australia Bank for their continued support as Major Partner of the ANZAC Cup.