This weekend will see the 7th annual ANZAC Cup take place in Villers-Bretonneux in France, this Saturday 25th April at 12pm at Stade Timmerman.
The Australian team, coming from all around Europe as well as Australia, will take on the French team led by Andrew Unsworth and Stevo Ryan. Both teams will attend the Dawn Service at the Australian National Memorial, followed by a march, undertaken by both teams, through Villers-Bretonneux to Stade Timmerman, making the event even more special.
AFL Europe CEO, Ben MacCormack has, “personally found extra significance in the event this year, listening to the boys stories over the past two years it has prompted me to research my own family history. This has led to discoveries that my great uncle and also my wife’s great grandfather are buried, in a similar vicinity, only 30km north of VB. We will visit their graves on this trip, which has added an emotion for us personally, and all of our extended families. This to me is the meaning of the event.”
With players for the Australian team being chosen by their personal connection and interest in the history that surrounds the ANZACs the two teams promise to deliver a memorable match for both the players and the spectators.
Assistant Coach of the French team, Stevo Ryan, on behalf of the French Team says, “We are all really excited about the match on Saturday. To be in Villers Bretonneaux 100 years to the day, from when our ANZACS put our country onto the world stage in WW1 with the landings at Gallipoli, making this an emotionally charged event. It’s fitting that in the spirit of the ANZACS, a game of AFL unites our two nations.”
Not only will an event like this unify our two nations but Stevo Ryan also believes, “that a lot of exciting things can and will happen here in France. We’ve seen the interest for this game grow exponentially at our domestic club this year back in Paris. Saturday’s game represents an opportunity for many of our French players to gauge where they are in this game and hopefully to where they want to go in the future.”
Most French clubs will be represented in the French team:
ALFA Lions (Lyon): Thomas DEPONDT, Thibault PICARD
Bordeaux Bombers: Cyril DEBET
Bristol Dockers: Pierre-etienne DANDALEIX
Coyotes de Cergy-Pontoise: Herve DESJARDIN
Montpellier Firesharks: Jerome CANONICI
Paris Cokerels: Yvan BARBARIA, Pierre BOSCART, Julien DAGOIS, Baudoin GERMOND, Francois DANIEL, Thomas HEDLEY
Toulouse Hawks: Julien GIL, Simon MONDIN, Fabien FLOCH
As for the Australian team, they will come from England, Germany, Poland, Sweden and Australia, all sharing a connection to Villers-Bretonneux and/or the ANZACs:
Craig, BANKES, Trent GEORGIOUS, James GOTTSCHALK, Dale HOUSDEN, Ruory KIRKBY, Matthias KLUSEMANN, Paul MCKECHNIE, Stuart NEWMAN, Troy NEWMAN, Tom PETERS, Tom RISCHBIETH, Gareth SMITH and Rob YOUNG.
The match will commence at 12pm at Stade Timmerman and will be followed by a women’s match at 2.30pm. Entry is free and food and drink are available at the ground.