Include Kiwis' anthem: Dragons, Roosters players


Rooster Boyd Cordner and Dragon Jason Nightingale are psyched for the Anzac Day match. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Rooster Boyd Cordner and Dragon Jason Nightingale are psyched for the Anzac Day match. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

The hefty contingent of Kiwis among the Roosters and Dragons teams wants the New Zealand national anthem to be played along with the Australian anthem before the clubs' annual Anzac Day match.

There will be 10 New Zealanders in action in Friday's meeting between the teams at Allianz Stadium, a match that has grown to be one of highlights of the NRL calendar and is expected to draw a crowd of more than 40,000.

The premiers' line-up includes Sonny Bill Williams, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Frank-Paul Nuuausala and Issac Liu. St George Illawarra will field a team featuring Kiwis Jason Nightingale, Gerard Beale, Bronson Harrison and Leeson Ah Mau.

The pre-match ceremony at Moore Park includes a performance of the Last Post, as well as the Australian national anthem by a singer from the Australian Navy Band. But unlike the other annual Anzac Day clash between the Storm and the Warriors in Melbourne, it is missing a rendition of New Zealand's anthem.

Kiwi internationals Kenny-Dowall and Nightingale believe God Defend New Zealand should be played before kick-off.

"Especially with the amount of Kiwis that we have in our team, and [it's called] the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. It's definitely something that they should consider, I think," Kenny-Dowall said.

"We remember Australia and New Zealand soldiers on that day. Going forward, definitely it should be done. I'd love to see it out there on that special day."

Dragons winger Nightingale agrees that it's an addition to the Anzac Day showpiece the NRL should contemplate.

"You get a bit jealous when you watch the Melbourne-Warriors game and they play both anthems," Nightingale said. "I think for sure it's something that they might introduce.

At least there will be an anthem of some sort before the Anzac Day commemoration at Allianz. That is in contrast to the cross-ditch Super 15 rugby game between the Brumbies and Waikato Chiefs at Canberra Stadium on Friday night.

The competition's governing body, SANZAR, blocked a request by the Brumbies for both countries' anthems to be played before kick-off, explaining that it would contravene the rules and that the practice was reserved for international matches.

Both the Roosters and Dragons are continuing a tradition of inviting a member of the armed services to speak to them on match eve.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson will have former commando and Afghanistan veteran Damien Thomlinson address his players on Thursday. Thomlinson, a Roosters fan, lost both legs after a bomb blast in 2009.

A previous war hero to speak to the Roosters on match eve was Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith, who received the Victoria Cross for his selfless actions during a helicopter assault in Afghanistan in 2010.

"You know it's nothing compared to a game of rugby league to hear some of the stories and the sacrifices. Every time they go out there they're putting their life on the line," Kenny-Dowall said.

"Just listening to his story about how he received his medal was pretty inspirational.

"It was an act of courage, determination and serious mental toughness. It's something that every person should be proud of."


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