For Bundaberg man Ben Turnbull, playing AFL in the Anzac Day games this year held more than one special meaning for him.
Ben said it was a privilege to play on a such an important day and a proud moment he could share with his sons, Joe and Luke.
“The game was my fourth on Anzac Day and the feeling is the same as the first,” Mr Turnbull said.
“I was proud to play because of the significance April 25 holds in this country.
“As incomparable sport is to service of Australia, getting people together on Anzac Day hopefully helps keep the memory of what deeds have been done in the past alive.”
Ben said Wide Bay AFL introduced Anzac Day games in 2013 to pay respect to all servicemen and women.
“This year's game was played at NE McLean Oval in Hervey Bay,” he said.
“I play for Brothers Bulldogs, and we won 13.9 (87) to 9.11 (65) against Across The Waves Eagles.”
This time around, Ben said he got to share in the special match with both of his teenage sons — 17-year-old Luke and 15-year-old Joe.
“When my sons were born I used to say I'd play footy with them someday, but I figured I would have been close to 40 years old when that would happen so it was going to be a stretch,” he said.
“I have sort of tried to keep healthy, so to actually play with Luke and Joe is a real thrill.
“After watching them grow up learning the game through their junior grades, getting to see them play well in seniors is amazing.”
Teamwork a highlight
Ben said the win was all thanks to teamwork.
“The highlight of the game from Brothers' point of view was the way we played as a team,” he said.
“There was some great individual performances from players, but overall everyone contributed in some way to beating a tough opposition.
“Regardless of who ATW has in its team, the Eagles are always hard to beat, and you can never relax against them, so to hold them out for four quarters was a great feeling.”
Proud footballer and dad
Ben said he had been playing football for most of his life and was proud of the younger generation who were now following the same passion.
“Because I have been playing for a while now I have seen plenty of players grow up around the club,” he said.
It does seem strange that I played footy with some of these young players' dads, but like it is with my boys I feel proud to play football with them too.
“I know how important the Bulldogs club was to me growing up, and I think I see the same effect on some of these young players now.”