Sydney Swans fly high ahead of Anzac Day

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Andrew Ragless (author), LSIS Helen Frank (photographer)

Location(s): Sydney, New South Wales

Commanding Officer HMAS Canberra, Captain Chris Smith, RAN,  and Petty Officer Boatswain Troy Nicol are presented a signed Sydney Swans jersey from players Josh Kennedy (L) and Luke Parker (R). (photo: LSIS Helen Frank)
Commanding Officer HMAS Canberra, Captain Chris Smith, RAN, and Petty Officer Boatswain Troy Nicol are presented a signed Sydney Swans jersey from players Josh Kennedy (L) and Luke Parker (R).

Sydney Swans players took their training to dizzy heights during a recent visit to Royal Australian Navy amphibious ship, HMAS Canberra.
 
Kicking the footy on Canberra’s 27 metre high flight deck, AFL players Josh Kennedy, Luke Parker, Dan Hannebery, Dane Rampe and Isaac Heeney shared their tips with an enthusiastic ship’s company and received a VIP tour by the ship’s captain.
 
Midfielder Dan Hannebery said the visit was a privilege.
 
“You just don’t realise how big it is until you get inside it,” he said.
 
“We got to kick the footy out on the flight deck and few of the guys got close to the edge.
 
“We had to be a little more cautious than usual but it was exciting and certainly something different.”
 
Commanding Officer Captain Chris Smith said it was an honour to host the players.
 
“Like the Navy, they’re a team that works together, they’ve got a great culture and a strong following and they’re the attributes we try to build in our own team,” he said.
 
“Being the flagship of the Royal Australian Navy, we’re very proud, and we have a good representation of football players and fans in the ship.
 
“Plus we’re one of the only ships in the fleet big enough to let the players have a kick around the deck without losing a ball over the side.”
 
The visit by the Swans took place ahead of the Anzac weekend battle with fierce rivals the West Coast Eagles.
 
Since 2010, the Swans and the Eagles have played annually for the HMAS Sydney II Cup over the Anzac Day weekend.
 
A joint initiative supported by the AFL, the Finding Sydney Foundation and the Royal Australian Navy, the Cup honours the 645 sailors lost when Sydney II was sunk off the coast of Western Australia in November, 1941.

The ship's wreckage was only discovered in March 2008.