Swans Captain Kieren Jack and Saints Captain Nick Riewoldt pose for a photo with the during a St Kilda Saints and Sydney Swans media conference at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand on April 24, 2013. (Photo: Lachlan Cunningham/AFL Media)
The winners of tonight’s Anzac Day match will receive a special new trophy to commemorate the first AFL game played for premiership points outside Australia.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key will present the Simpson-Henderson Trophy to the winner of the historic game between St Kilda and the Sydney Swans at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand.
The trophy acknowledges two men who embody the Anzac spirit. Both are part of the enduring image of carrying wounded on the back of a donkey during the Gallipoli campaign.
Private John Simpson served with the Australian Army Medical Corps in the 3rd Field Ambulance from the time of the Gallipoli landing on April 25 1915. He was killed in action by machine-gun fire while carrying two wounded men on his donkey on May 19.
Private Richard Henderson, a stretcher-bearer in the New Zealand Medical Corps at Gallipoli took over from Simpson. He survived the war and was later awarded the Military Medal for his service on the Somme battlefields. Henderson survived the war but was badly gassed in Belgium and was discharged in 1918. He remained in poor health for the rest of his life and died in Auckland in 1958.
AFL International Development Manager Tony Woods said the trophy represents the link between the two countries and the spirit of the match.
“A big part of bringing AFL to Wellington on Anzac Day is to acknowledge the long and unique history that Australia and New Zealand share,” he said.
“It was critical for us to identify an iconic image with an extraordinary back story that reflects this.”
The perpetual trophy was created by the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association.
A player will also be awarded with the Anzac Medal, which is awarded to the player who best exemplifies the Anzac Spirit; skill, courage, self-sacrifice and fair play.
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs