Daniel Keighran VC, one of only four living Australian recipients of the Victoria Cross, addresses the team at Canberra Airport ahead of their ANZAC Round clash with the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Below is a letter from Canberra Raiders long term sponsor Richard Rolfe OAM, who organised the presentation from Keighran in the lead up to the ANZAC clash. As well as supporting rugby league in the Canberra region, Rolfe has also been an long term and highly active supporter of charities such as Solider On and Legacy.
As a passionate and long term supporter and sponsor of the Canberra Raiders, I wish the team and the Club every success for this season, and over the Anzac Round in particular.
The decision to honour the Defence Forces by wearing the Anzac Tribute jersey, and then to auction off the actual player’s jerseys to raise funds for Legacy, Soldier on and the Woden Valley Veteran Support Centre is typical of the Canberra Raiders commitment to the Canberra Community.
I am well aware of how the Raiders have embraced and aligned with Defence to build a sustainable positive culture within the Club, and this is paying dividends in the development of the young crop of players at the Club.
For the Raiders to have Daniel Keighran VC, one of only four living Australian recipients of the Victoria Cross, to address the team at Canberra Airport as they were about to depart for their match against the Rabbitohs this morning was simply inspirational. To see the awe and admiration your players have for Daniel who has been decorated with the highest award for conspicuous gallantry was something that the team will no doubt draw on in their match against the reigning premiers on Sunday.
I am also aware that the CEO of the NRL, David Smith has announced a multi-year partnership with the Australian War Memorial earlier this week, and this no doubt will ensure a uniform focus within the league of honouring the Defences Forces and allowing the stories to be told of the links between Rugby League and the Military.
With a large Defence community in Canberra, and the Australian War Memorial located here, with major sponsors like Defence Force Housing that are obviously linked to Defence, and the NRL’s commitment to forge a strong link to Defence, is it possible to ask the NRL for consideration of a level playing field, so that each Australian and New Zealand team is guaranteed a home match every second year over future Anzac Rounds?
Richard Rolfe OAM