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The Australian War Memorial has partnered with the National Rugby League to commemorate the service and sacrifice of Australia’s defence men and women for more than 100 years.

In the lead up to Round 8 of the NRL premiership which will see five fixtures played on ANZAC Day this Saturday, the Director of the Australian War Memorial, Brendan Nelson has reflected on the significance of the day and commemorations planned.

“From Gallipoli, over 100 years that have given us a legacy of belief in ourselves and support of one another,” Nelson said.

“We call it Mateship and see it in the great game of rugby league and we see it every day in our volunteers and all of those throughout our country who stand up for these ANZAC values.”

The Newcastle Knights, along with the NRL, remember not only 100 years of service this weekend, but those from the rugby league family who have served in war.

After competing in the inaugural New South Wales Rugby League Premiership in 1908 and 1909 the Newcastle Rugby League broke away to form the local competition in 1910.

Newcastle’s first captain in 1908, Stan Carpenter represented Australia in 1909.

He was recommended twice for the Victoria Cross. Once was for his work as a stretcher-bearer at Gallipoli during the chaos of the landing and again at Pozieres.

He was later awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal and returned to Australia and continued to play into his 40s.

Historically the Knights have only played on ANZAC Day twice in the Club’s history.

The first time they played on our nation’s most significant day was in 1993 in Newcastle and six years later, in 1999 in the nation’s capital.

That inaugural ANZAC Day clash for the Knights saw the Club record a 19-18 victory against the Illawarra Steelers at Marathon Stadium supported by a crowd of 14,352.

The second occasion involved the Rick Stone led Knights journeying to Canberra to face the Raiders in what eventuated in a 21-21 draw.

Saturday’s match falls on ANZAC Day 2015, the 100th anniversary of the Anzacs’ landing at Gallipoli and will be a proud moment for the Knights current playing squad.

The match against the North Queensland Cowboys at Hunter Stadium will be a day of reflection and appreciation for the sacrifices of those who have served.

Many of the Knights’ playing squad have already expressed that the momentous occasion will stand as a career highlight.

“It’s a special Day for Australia and New Zealand. It’s a chance to recognise the people that did go before us. Playing on such a special day like this makes it even better, “ forward Jeremy Smith said.

For prop Kade Snowden, who shares a special family connection with ANZAC Day through his late grandfather, the commemorative match will be more significant and moving than ever.

“We wouldn’t be the way we are today if it wasn’t for the ANZACS. They sacrificed everything for us. It’s our most important day,” Snowden said. 

Saturday April 25 – Round 8

Newcastle Knights v North Queensland Cowboys
Gates open: 11am
NYC: 11.15am
ANZAC Ceremony: 1.45pm
NRL: 2pm
Venue: Hunter Stadium