Contributed by: Graeme Carey Saturday, May 02 2009 @ 11:59 am ACST
On a day where football truly was the winner, the Singapore Wombats annexed the Anzac Day Cup triumphing over the Malaysian Warriors and an Australian Army side at Alice Smith School on April, 25th 2009.
To some extent the results were secondary to the day itself. This year is the 10th year of the Warriors history, and importantly, they are hosting the Asian Championships in September. Given the gains our code has made in the Asian region over the past few years, Warriors have been keen to build on that and to promote the upcoming Championships though the media.
A local television segment focused on the Anzac Day Tri-Series and this was backed by a studio appearance of the Warriors leadership on NTV7’s breakfast show, and further exposure for the Great Game is coming via a camera crew representing the Australian TV network who recorded Saturday’s activities.
With the added assistance from other KL based organizations, targeted advertising in the form of email and flyer distribution helped boost the numbers to a more than acceptable attendance. Suffice to say that there was great exposure for the Club Sponsors and the image of Australian Rules Football within Malaysia on the day.
The Malaysian Warriors in association with the Australia Month Campaign are grateful to all those who attended and supported a fantastic Anzac Day afternoon, Saturday 25 April. Special thanks go to the Australian Army “Rifle Division”, the Singapore Wombats, the Australian Alumni Hunteroos and the young boys from Saint John’s Institution Secondary School, Kuala Lumpur for their involvement.
Many thanks to Glen Sargeant, Ben Simpson and Peter Habel of the Malaysian Warriors[*1] for contributing the bulk of this article.
Traditionally Anzac Day began early for many of the day’s participants with the solemn Dawn Service at the Cheras Cemetery’s Military Annexe, remembering those who have served Australia during conflict. The presence of an Australian Army contingent was acknowledged by the dignitaries present and the wider community group who attended.
That same morning, The Australian Alumni Hunteroos began a Car Trial/ Treasure Hunt from Kuala Lumpur City Centre which concluded at Alice Smith School, Sri Kembangan, the site of the Tri-Series, in time for the big event.
In recent times, no international or even intraclub game is complete without Auskick. Auskick has become a cornerstone of expansion for the Malaysian Warriors with several senior and social members of the Club dedicating their Saturday mornings to this activity.
The Warriors were grateful on this occasion to a number of the Army squad who also volunteered to help out: they surprised the children with a massive amount of merchandise supplied through their West Coast Eagles and the NT AFL contacts. This provided the kids with a range of Australian Football paraphernalia that is not available here in Malaysia and brought huge smiles to their faces.
A sincere thank you is extended to the Australian Army “Rifle Division”, the NT AFL and West Coast Eagles for their generosity.
Concurrently with the Auskick Clinic, the Warriors structured an AFL skills development session with the 50 boys attending the day from St John’s Institution’s Secondary School in KL. Several Warriors players were involved in coaching the boys, and finished off the activity with a 20 minute game....which ended as a 'draw'! The St John’s lads showed the ability to convert their rugby skills to the particular demands of Australian Football, quickly adapting to the different techniques for handling, passing and kicking an AFL ball. All the boys worked hard and threw themselves into the running, kicking and tackling with a number of them showing real promise. It must be noted that the boys’ behaviour, courtesy and friendliness was a credit to them, their families, and their school. The relationship between the Warriors and St John’s is something very new, but is already showing promise in terms of spreading Australian Football more widely in Malaysia.
Game 1 - Malaysian Warriors 4.7 (31) v Army Eagles 3.2 (20)
A huge round of applause propelled the Warriors to a confident start against the Army with a closely fought and fair contest up to half time. The Warriors were linking passages of play and finishing with goals. During the second half the momentum changed and the Army team lifted with an early goal and followed on with some great defensive pressure and attacking play. Thankfully the Warriors’ first half goals allowed them to hang on for the win.
Game 2 - Singapore Wombats 8.7 (55) v Army Eagles 1.1 (7)
The Army suffered from only receiving 45 minutes rest before the second game, and they had to be tired after their close loss to the Warriors. Singapore on the other hand had fresh legs following an air conditioned bus trip up to KL. However, the Eagles provided competitive football but unfortunately were not able to convert their efforts into points throughout the match. The scoreboard reflected the goal kicking accuracy of Singapore but it did not reflect the fact that the Army played hard and fast in both defence and attack.
Game 3 - Singapore Wombats 4.4 (28) v Malaysian Warriors 3.1 (19)
The third game, and Tri-Series decider was between Singapore and Malaysia, each having one win in hand. The Warriors began with an impressive first half, playing with enthusiasm in securing and retaining the ball during play. The second half however proved that it was not to be their day and Singapore scored a crucial two goals in the last 5 minutes to edge out the home side and take the day’s silverware.
Singapore were victorious and so are the inaugural title holders of the MWARFC Ted Hawksworth Anzac Cup. With the continued support of the Australian Army, Singapore and other teams within the Asian Australian Football Council it is intended that this event be held every year and that it provide a great day of comradeship, endurance, respect, courage and pride, in the spirit of celebration of Anzac Day.