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The Parramatta Eels have today unveiled a special jersey in honour of Anzac Day.

Due to unprecedented circumstances this year, NRL will not be played for Anzac Day Round, which is particularly disappointing for the Eels who planned to play their annual match in Northern Territory followed by a special dawn service in Darwin.

Parramatta Eels CEO Jim Sarantinos said, “Anzac Day is a momentous occasion for Australians, and we had hoped our Club would play a special part in the commemorations in Darwin. Unfortunately this year was not to be, however we hope we can honour the Anzac spirit by partnering with graphic designer Kathy Turner to create a specially designed jersey.”

This year, our Anzac jersey coincides with the 80th anniversary of the formation of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Darwin, which occurred on 19 June, 1940. It is designed by Squadron Leader Kathy Turner CSM, a permanent Air Force Veteran Engineering Officer and Active Reservist with 25 plus years’ service. Kathy is now a freelance Graphic Designer and owner of Graphite Design Coal Coast. The jersey commemorates the men and women involved in the Pacific War in with the image of a RAAF Spitfire fighter aircraft and aircrew.

“I wanted to focus on the Eels’ special link to the Northern Territory. The RAAF Spitfire is an unmistakable aircraft from World War II, which saw more victories than any other aircraft and directly defended the Northern Territory and beyond. Post the initial Darwin bombing in Feb 1942, there were many raids on the Northern Territory from 1942 to 1945, which saw air combat directly over Australian soil both day and night.

“The colours are of course representative of the Parramatta Eels – marine blue and gold and symbolise sunrise and sunset, providing a link to the Anzac Ode "at the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them...LEST WE FORGET". The southern cross from the Northern Territory state flag  has been added to the design and symbolises the RAAF motto "per ardua ad astra" or "through adversity to the stars"

“It is also important to acknowledge the Indigenous and the traditional owners of Darwin, known as the Larrakia Nation - Saltwater People. Australia was extremely dependent on the support of the Northern Territory communities, who provided labour, transport on the many Northern Territory airfields and radar stations, as well as coastal surveillance and search and rescue for downed aircrew”, added Kathy.

Kathy is a supporter of Veteran Sport Australia, a charity group encouraging veterans to be re-engaged in community through sport.

Michael Hartung, General Manager of Veteran Sport Australia said, “We see tremendous value in working with Parramatta Eels. It’s important for all Australians to commemorate those who served our nation and I’m so pleased a Veteran has been asked to design a jersey in honour of Anzac Day”.

In lieu of Anzac Day services this year, Veteran Sport Australia is working alongside RSL to lead commemorative efforts through a campaign called “Light Up the Dawn”. The campaign encourages all Australians to stand at the end of their driveway or balcony facing East at 6am on Anzac Day to remember those who have served and sacrificed.

The limited edition 2020 Parramatta Eels Anzac Day jersey is available via pre-sale exclusively on the Club’s Online Store, which can be found here.

Many thanks to the Australian War Memorial (AWM) for use of the WWII images, which were created by John Harrison and William Martin, which feature Flying Officer N Vidler Sydney, Pilot Officer D Yates Sydney, Flight Lieutenant J Bell Sydney, Flight Lieutenant N Rankin Grafton and Flight Lieutenant G Campbell Sydney.

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Acknowledgement of Country

Parramatta Eels respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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