Launching the 20th Annual Anzac Day Cup at the hallowed Sydney Cricket Ground, Crichton and Manu expressed their excitement for the traditional clash, one of the biggest days on the Rugby League calendar.
“It’s a massive occasion for us and it’s an honour to pull on an Anzac-inspired Roosters jersey," Crichton said.
“To play on such a historic and important day for us as a country is always an honour. There’s a massive respect you want to uphold for the people who served and let us live the life we do in this country.
Anzac Day Media - Angus Crichton
“It’s really exciting. Obviously, with covid-19, we didn’t play our Anzac Game here last year and it’s always a big day for us as a Club. Our fans come in numbers and I’m really excited for it.
“You don’t really feel it until game day but there is a lot of excitement. Hopefully, we’ll be running out to a full house."
Manu echoed his teammates' sentiments and cited the Club's trip to France during the 2019 World Club Challenge as a critical lesson in the history of the Anzacs and one he is grateful to have experienced.
To play on such a historic and important day for us as a country it’s always an honour. There’s a massive respect you want to uphold for the people who served and let us live the life we do in this country.Angus Crichton On the Anzac Day tradition
“We got to learn a bit more about the history around the wars that happened," Manu explained.
"It gave me a bit more perspective on what the Anzacs did for us – a lot of them sacrificed their lives for us to live ours. It was pretty special to go to such a sacred place and learn more about it.
“As a young kid we would go to the dawn services and I enjoyed the experience of those so I’ve always held a respect for Anzac Day.
“For me to be able to represent those people makes me proud to be a New Zealander and to play in this game.
“It’s pretty special to have all that silence and to hear the Last Post playing and the atmosphere.
“I enjoy it all – the pre-game, the week that leads up to it and the game itself. I’m really looking forward to it."
Tracing back to the mid-1940s, the players will wear the famous Bondi Blue coloured Wartime Jersey, inspired by the 1945 Premiership-winning side that wore the new design due to dye shortages during the war effort, and the pair say that the new look and historical relevance make the jersey one that they would like to see remain as a staple for years to come.
“I’m a massive fan," Crichton beamed.
"It’s one of the best-looking jerseys to have come from the Roosters and I’m excited to represent and wear it on the weekend.
“The whole story behind rationing for dye is special, and as much as I liked ones in the past, I think something that the Roosters wore back in wartime that we get to now in the current day is something we should hold on to.
Anzac Day Media - Joseph Manu
“I think it’s a great step the Club is taking and hopefully we can wear this again and make it a tradition. History means a lot and it’s an honour for us to look back on our history, pay our respects and add our own piece of history in 2021."
“I love it. The colour and the history behind it is awesome," Manu added.
“Robbo (Trent Robinson) knows a lot about the history and ever since I was here as a young kid, he always taught us about the history of things first and then brought in the footy side of things on the back of it.
“A lot of it is about the history and wearing this jersey makes me want to see more about the history from the Club."
We’re super excited to have the game here on the Sydney Cricket Ground as a curtain-raiser to the Roosters and Dragons game, so we’re very privileged and honoured to put this together.Warrant Officer Mark Donlan Events Operations Manager, Australian Defence Force Rugby League
While the tradition and grandeur of the match have rarely changed since its inception in 2002, the 2021 edition of the Anzac Day Cup will include a new piece of history: the Anzac Day Commemorative Test Match between the Australian Defence Forces and the Turkish Rugby League playing an inaugural Test as a curtain-raiser to the match.
Events Operations Manager for the Australian Defence Force Rugby League, Warrant Officer Mark Donlan and Turkish Head Coach Scott Hartas expressed their excitement and gratitude for the inaugural match between the sides, one they say that has been in the works for a number of years.
As a special gesture, the Club has also invited the defence force to attend the Captain’s Run on Saturday at the hallowed SCG turf.
“We’ve been trying to put this game together for a number of years," Mr Donlan explained.
“It’s come about after a building personal relationship within the NRL and defence community, and this Sunday on Anzac Day we are able to come together for what will be our Inaugural test Match against the two countries.
“We’re super excited to have the game here on the Sydney Cricket Ground as a curtain-raiser to the Roosters and Dragons game, so we’re very privileged and honoured to put this together."
“It’s a massive occasion for us not only for the national team but for the Turkish community as well," Mr Hartas added.
“It's significant for both nations and it’s the first time we’ve been able to put a Turkish side of Australian residents together for this occasion.
“There’s a lot of firsts here that have been put together by a collaboration between both organisations which is a testament to the great game of Rugby League."
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