Queensland Reds unveil 2024 Anzac jersey

Queensland Reds unveil 2024 Anzac jersey

Queensland Reds players James O'Connor and Zane Nonggorr spoke to media this morning to unveil the 2024 Anzac jersey, to be worn during the Round 10 Super Rugby Pacific clash against the Blues at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday April 27.

The Queensland Reds have unveiled a stunning Anzac jersey honouring the 11 Reds players who have died in wartime.

The jersey will be worn against the Auckland-based Blues on Saturday, April 27, for Super Rugby’s Anzac Weekend Round – where every Australian team will play a New Zealand team.

The jersey commemorates the 60 Queensland Reds players who have served in five wars over 125 years, with 11 never returning.

It features unique Queensland imagery and was designed by Canterbury and the Queensland Rugby Union with assistance from the Australian Army and the Australian War Memorial.

The khaki is the same colour as the World War One battledress worn by the Australian infantry.

The main image is the famous photograph of Australian diggers advancing in the Battle of Broodsiende Ridge in 1917.

Taken by Australia’s most famous wartime photographer Frank Hurley, the image is believed to be of Toowoomba’s 25th Battalion.

The maroon collar features the Rising Sun badge honouring those who served, and a poppy honouring those who did not return.

The sleeves feature black-over-blue hoops in memory of the colour patches worn by Queensland’s infantry battalions in World War One – the 9th, 25th, 41st and 49th battalions.

These units still wear those colour patches today and the descendant units of three of them – 9RQR and 25/49RQR, will form the honour guard for the match’s Anzac service along with 6RAR.

There are deep connections with those units. Four Queensland Reds served in the 9th Battalion, one in the 25th and one in the 49th.

Former Queensland Reds hooker Eric Andrews served as a platoon commander with 6RAR in Vietnam, reinforcing Delta Company the morning after the Battle of Long Tan.

The match-worn jerseys will be auctioned after the game, with proceeds going to Legacy.

Queensland Reds flyhalf James O’Connor and prop Zane Nonggorr helped launch the jerseys at Gallipoli Barracks, Enoggera.

O’Connor’s grandfather Maurice served with New Zealand’s 7th Anti-Tank Regiment in the Middle East.

"He fought in Greece in the battle of Crete. He was wounded in Libya in the desert war. He was then captured and put on a cargo boat and was on his way to a prisoner of war (POW) camp," O'Connor said. 

"The boat was actually bombed by the British Navy. He swam across but then got captured again and spent the next year travelling through Italy in POW camps.

"He and some of his mates actually escaped one night and worked their way over the Apennine mountains and back over the German lines and to safety.

"There was about a four month period where they were travelling at night and hiding in the day. It’s a very interesting story.

"It means a lot [to represent him]. I’m very grateful for the service that he and all of the other soldiers have provided and we get to live in a society now because of that."

"I’m deeply honoured to wear this," O'Connor said. 

Nonggorr’s grandfather John Twivey served in RAF Bomber Command during World War 2 in England, France and North Africa.

“It’s quite humbling when you hear the stories of the Reds players who went away to war and those who didn’t come back,” he said.

“There were some incredible young men.

“My grandad played rugby for the Royal Australian Airforce against the Royal Airforce in England many times.
“The shoulder injury he suffered during the war was a rugby injury.”

Former Reds players won every gallantry award short of the Victoria Cross and one of them was the only Australian to win three Distinguished Service Orders, the next award down from the VC.

At least three died trying to save their mates.

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