Australians did battle against the Turks again on ANZAC Day 2021 – this time on a rugby league field at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
CAPTION: Private Dylan McGregor for ADFRL runs the ball at the Turkish defence during the 2021 ANZAC Day Rugby League clash at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Photo by Leading Seaman Nadav Harel.
ADF Rugby League (ADFRL) played a Turkish team made up of Australia-based players for the first time in a curtain-raiser for the NRL ANZAC Day clash between the Sydney Roosters and St George Illawarra Dragons.
The Aussies dominated the opposition, winning 46-0.
ADFRL coach Chief Petty Officer Shane Bullock said the Anzac Day fixture was usually a contest between ADFRL and New Zealand sides but because of COVID-19, there was an opportunity to play the Turkish residents’ team instead.
“It’s a big occasion when we play the Kiwis – we fought arm-in-arm with New Zealand – but it all started in Gallipoli,” CPO Bullock said.
“This is the biggest Anzac Day game we’ve played.”
The ADF fielded a near full-strength side, made up of players from all services.
Two tries each to (excusing ranks) Thalia Tabuai and Mitch Simington for the home side, plus tries to Joel Munroe, Mitchell Walton, Jake Mason, BJ Ruttley and Dylan McGregor
Before the game, Chief Petty Officer Bullock said the Turkish team was an “unknown”, with some semi-professional emerging and senior players.
The Turkish players have been drawn from NSW development leagues, including the Sydney Shield and Ron Massey Cup.
Two Turkish national players were also included in the squad.
The ADF team came together just a handful of times in the two weeks for training.
Both teams came together for breakfast on April 23.
Event organisers hoped the match would become a regular ANZAC Day event – though traditional rivals, the Kiwis, might have something to say about that.
“There have been talks of an opportunity to play the game in Turkey in the future,” Chief Petty Officer Bullock said.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The original story was published by Defence before the game and updated by CONTACT using match info from nrl.com – hence no ranks for the scorers.