On Sunday, 21 July, the Australian Football League honoured the 645 brave men who perished in Australia’s greatest naval tragedy when the West Coast Eagles came head to head with Sydney Swans at Patersons Stadium for the HMAS Sydney (II) Memorial Match.
The Sydney Swans beat West Coast Eagles by 34 points, taking home the HMAS Sydney (II) Commemorative trophy for the fourth time in a row since the match's inception in 2010.
The trophy, produced to represent a ship’s Battle Honour Board and showing Sydney’s distinct badge, campaign and battle honours, was presented to Swans Captain, Jarrad McVeigh by Rear Admiral Clinton Thomas, Commander Joint Logistics and Patron of RAN Australian Football Association.
“Campaign and battle honours are highly prized by the ships and aircraft squadrons they are awarded to, and are always worn, serving as a constant and proud reminder of past achievements” RADM Thomas said.
“The trophy is therefore evocative of the fighting spirit and teamwork shown by HMAS Sydney (II)’s men and is an invitation for the two teams to perpetuate these sentiments by demonstrating the same spirit of competition and teamwork each year,” he said as he presented the trophy.
A perpetual trophy based on the shell casing of a 76mm gunnery round fired by the present and fourth HMAS Sydney was also presented to the player judged as ‘Best on Ground.’
Captain Angela Bond, Commanding Officer HMAS Stirling presented the Best on Ground trophy to Daniel Hannebery, acknowledging him as “the player who showed the greatest courage and skill in adversity, teamwork and fighting spirit.”
Originally an initiative of the Finding Sydney (II) Foundation, with the support of the Royal Australian Navy and the AFL, the memorial match honours the memory and sacrifice of Sydney (II)’s ship’s company during WWII when she was sunk by the German raider Kormoran.
The Sydney Swans and West Coast Eagles continue to represent Sydney (II)’s home port and the State of her final operations and resting place.