As has been tradition since 2015 when the first ANZAC Day Eve match began, the Melbourne Demons will take on the Richmond Tigers in what has become part of the AFL ANZAC Round.
In a moving pre-game ceremony, the lights at the MCG will be dimmed and the crowd will fall silent. A torch lit from the Eternal Flame at the Shrine of Remembrance will be delivered to the G, where it’s then used to light a cauldron to burn for the duration of the match.
This year, the cauldron will be lit by former soldier turned gold-winning Paralympian, Curtis McGrath OAM.
Curtis enlisted into the Australian Army in 2006 aged 18 and deployed overseas, including to Afghanistan.
It was there, while on patrol in 2012, that his life changed forever when he stepped on an improvised explosive device. The then 24-year old lost both his legs in the blast but he vowed, almost immediately, to become a Paralympian.
He has since competed in the Invictus Games, Paralympic Games and a number of other international competitions – and won gold multiple times.
"It will be my honour to light the cauldron at the MCG, and I do so on behalf of all those who served and their families."
Curtis McGrath OAM
RSL Victoria’s Fundraising Manager Peter Smith OAM, who served in the Australian Army for over two decades, will recite the Ode. The Ode is the 4th stanza of the poem For the Fallen by Laurence Binyon.
"It is a privilege to quote these powerful words in front of a captive audience and give the crowd an opportunity to quietly think and reflect about the service and sacrifice of so many."
Peter Smith OAM
“These words inspire us to remember and pay our utmost respects.”
The ANZAC Appeal round is played in collaboration with the RSL, with the games helping the RSL and the Australian Defence Force conduct commemoration ceremonies and raise money for the annual ANZAC Appeal.
"Times are tough for many, including in our Defence family. Any donation you can spare will help the RSL to continue its vital work in supporting veterans when they need it the most."
Peter Smith OAM