Battle for the Anzacs: WFL, HDFNL to host Anzac Day matches

Natimuk United v Harrow-Balmoral: Harrow Recreation Reserve, 2.45pm.

Horsham Saints v Horsham: Horsham City Oval, 6.30pm.

FOR the first time, Wimmera Football League and Horsham District Football Netball League will both stage Anzac Day matches.

Wimmera league teams Horsham RSL Diggers and Horsham Saints traditionally clashed every year on Anzac Day, but the Diggers’ merge with district league team Natimuk during the summer has changed the football landscape.

Horsham Saints will retain their place in the Wimmera league Anzac Day fixture, with Horsham stepping up to fill the breach left by the Diggers’ departure.

New ground will also be broken in the district league, with the league’s first Anzac Day match to be played on Friday.

The newly-merged Natimuk United will honour its Diggers roots by featuring in the game, hosted by Harrow-Balmoral.

District league chairman Graeme King said it was an exciting occasion for the league.

“This is the first time we’ve been involved in an Anzac Day game in the district league and we’re looking forward to it,” he said.

“I think it’s a great thing because it keeps the connection going with the Diggers and the relationship they’ve built up with their RSL involvement.”

Natimuk United coach Tim Friend is one of a handful of former Diggers players at the club.

He said it was always a thrill to feature in an Anzac Day match.

“It’s great for the boys from United to be able to do it again, but it’s also good for the players here who have never been in one,” he said.

“It’s always an honour and a privilege to play in a special game like this.”

“It’s always an honour and a privilege to play in a special game like this.” - Natimuk United coach Tim Friend

Harrow-Balmoral coach Brent Forsyth said his team was also excited at the prospect of playing on Anzac Day.

“I’ve never had the opportunity to play in an Anzac game before and it’s something we’re all really looking forward to,” he said.

King said the league planned to make the Natimuk United v Harrow-Balmoral game a yearly fixture, similar to the Wimmera league Anzac Day match.

At Horsham City Oval, Horsham will look to break Horsham Saints’ run of six consecutive Wimmera league Anzac Day wins.

Demons co-coach Jordyn Burke said it was a privilege to follow in the footsteps of Horsham RSL Diggers.

“It’s a huge honour to be taking over from the Diggers and playing against Horsham Saints,” he said.

“We’ve touched on the Anzac spirit side of things and we’re all going to get down to the march.

"I think that’s an important thing to do – you don’t forget why you’ve got the opportunity to play on Anzac Day.”

"I think that’s an important thing to do – you don’t forget why you’ve got the opportunity to play on Anzac Day.” - Jordyn Burke

Saints coach Shayne Breuer agreed it would be a big occasion.

“It’s my first involvement on Anzac Day and the first Anzac Day game for a few of the players as well,” he said.

“I think it’s pretty important that the players understand the significance of the day they get to play on.”

The district league match will start at 2.45pm, with the Wimmera league match starting at 6.30pm.

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