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17th April 2024 Latest News

Australian Emergency Services, Defence Force unite for ANZAC Day showcase

ACES resized

Australia’s best footballers from the Defence Force and emergency services will honour their fallen comrades in the annual ANZAC Day Challenge in Adelaide on April 26.

Taking place as a curtain raiser to the Port Adelaide versus St Kilda AFL game at Adelaide Oval, the Australian Combined Emergency Services (ACES) will take to hallowed turf against the ADF All Stars.

The ACES are an all-Australian team of the best police, fire, ambulance, and corrections footballers from around the country, while their opponents are the best players from the navy, army, and air force.

Since 2019 the ACES have been sponsored by Military and Emergency Services Australia (MESHA), which allows the team to participate in community events during the week.

ACES coach Daniel Havelberg, a South Australian Police officer, said it was an “honour” to be a part of ANZAC Day commemorations throughout the week.

“It’s an honour to be part of the ANZAC week commemorations and through a game of football we will show our upmost respect to what the Defence Force personnel do for us day in day out,” he said.

“ACES are absolutely grateful for the support of MESHA on and off the field and we are hoping to continue the partnership well into the future. We respect and are grateful for the work MESHA are doing.

“Growing awareness and research into the mental health injuries of service personnel is key to looking after those who look after our community.”

Each year, the ANZAC Day Challenge is dedicated to emergency service personnel who lost their lives in the line of duty.

This year’s contest will be dedicated to South Australian Police Sergeant Jason Doig as well as Queensland firefighter Izabella Nash, New South Wales firefighter Michael Kidd, Western Australian paramedic Tinesh Tamilkodi and WA Police constable Anthony Woods.

In the lead-up to the ANZAC Day Challenge, the ACES and All Stars will also be playing an exhibition wheelchair football match against a combined wheelchair football team sourced from the Wellbeing for Australian Veterans and Emergency Services Program (WAVES, formerly the Invictus Pathways Program) and SANFL.

Wheelchair Football is a fast-paced and highly tactical sport with two teams of five players. The exhibition match at noon on Tuesday at Wayville Courts, will be the largest single-day IPP wheelchair sports event undertaken in South Australia.

MESHA is also a joint funder of the WAVES program, alongside the University of South Australia.

Associate Director Karen May said MESHA was proud to lend its support to the ACES and the initiative as whole.

“It’s an exciting match not to be missed with the rare mix of rivalry and mutual respect and camaraderie between the ACES and ADF All Stars teams,” she said.

“We are proud to be able to support the game and a week of events leading up to it, promoting wellbeing for our service personnel and their families at these events.”

Ticketholders to the Port Adelaide vs St Kilda match can attend the ACES versus All Stars match when gates open at Adelaide Oval.

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