A keen spectator of footy from a very young age, Siobhan recently realised her love for playing the game and is eager to continue this passion over in France, when she travels across to play in a commemorative match in Villers-Bretonneux in April.
Siobhan was able to join in on the action last year playing for South Melbourne in the division one Victorian Amateur Football Association.
Finding a real hunger to play, Siobhan fell in love with her club, the game itself and the togetherness that comes with being part of a team. This type of passion towards a team and the game of Australian football is exactly the energy that will surround her come ANZAC Cup and is something that will shine through her and all 27 selected Australians.
Moving to live in France just before the beginning of this ANZAC Cup event, Siobhan will gain great insight into the rich history of the land she will be living on and will make her move overseas a whole lot more special.
Siobhan will be honouring her home country in Villers-Bretonneux, France, for the Australian Spirit football team, where she will join fellow Aussies against the French National side on April 27th. This game will follow a big week for this French town, with the Dawn Service at the Australian National Memorial in Villers-Bretonneux being one of the largest outside of Australia. It is such a great way for all involved to honour diggers who have fought and sacrificed, stopping the German force takeover on April 25th, 1918.
Many of Siobhan’s family fought at war for their country, making this event even more special for her and her whole family.
In saying that, what will make this event even more special is that two of her great-great uncles are commemorated at Villers–Bretonneux. Both Frank and Edward Giles appear on the Villers-Bretonneux memorial for their honourable work as soldiers. Frank has an incredible story where he was shot in the face, patched up and then sent back out to battle showing the will power in which the man had to continue to fight for his country in the face of all adversaries.
Siobhan’s family relation to the ANZAC Cup not only gives pulling on the green and gold more significance, but to be living soon in France so close to a large part of her family’s history adds more value to her move.
“I think it will be an amazing experience that will allow me to really reflect on the sacrifice of my own relatives and many other service men and women.”
On top of this already impressive family history, great-great uncles of Siobhan’s, William and Nathaniel Giles, both fought in WWI. Nathaniel was awarded a medal for his courage and devotion. Adding to this side of the family, Siobhan’s great-great aunt also worked in WWI as a nurse.
Siobhan is already reflecting on her family’s history and with many people joining together for this football match, it shows how different a time we live in and how a large community of people can come together in such an important time.
“I realise what a different world it was then and the huge sacrifices they made to defend our country. It’s easy to forget in the busyness of day to day life but I think this experience will be a particularly powerful way to reflect and really appreciate the opportunities and way of life we enjoy today and, of course, remember and appreciate the ANZACs.”
In what will be the 11th annual ANZAC Cup, Villers-Bretonneux will be host to some well deserving Australians including Siobhan. She will be there for her whole family and will add to and remember the rich history of the Giles’ past throughout the trip.
Special thanks to the National Australia Bank for their continued support as Major Partner of the ANZAC Cup.