SHOALHAVEN Rugby Club will come out all guns blazing this weekend in the hope of causing a competition upset and thrilling a home crowd in the third annual Digger Day clash.
Shoalhaven Rugby Park will be transformed from modest grounds to a defence spectacle and then sporting battlefield as the club pays respects to past and present defence servicemen and servicewomen.
Shoalhaven’s fly half Sam Watts has played the last two Digger Days and hopes that tradition will be one of the things that gets his team over the line this year against the fifth placed Camden Rams.
In past years Shoals have lifted against all odds to defeat the higher ranked Vikings 31-17 and then in 2013 the Rams 40-22.
“I would like to think we can put in another big performance this weekend,” Watts said.
“It’s going to be a tough game, obviously we are struggling a bit more this year. But hopefully we can put on a big show for the VCs, especially Keith Payne, and all the special guests who have come out to support us,” he said.
Watts said despite the loss of Country players Mitch Hardy and James Smith, his team will go out hard in search for that win.
“We have started to get a pretty solid back line together, our forwards have been struggling a bit but our backs are really starting to work together and put up a good front,” he said.
“But really, it’s just a good opportunity to show our respect for the diggers and what they have done for our country. I really enjoy the day, they are always good fun.”
Digger Day is a joint project with the Nowra-Greenwell Point RSL sub-branch and Shoals will be fund-raising for Defence charities Soldier On and Defence Care, as well as to the Nowra-Greenwell Point RSL sub-branch.
Shoals will be wearing specially designed jerseys, this year depicting a warship and troops sailing away for Albany and world conflict.
At the end of the day the jerseys will be auctioned off for charity, including one framed jersey signed Victoria Cross recipients Keith Payne and Daniel Keighran.
The club has raised about $20, 000 from the past two days.
Noon - Second grade game starts.
1.30pm - Red Berets deploy from CASA aircraft.
1.35pm - Red Berets land and put away chutes and line up on the side lines with the players.
1.40pm – The first Navy aircraft lands with Norm Petit and Henry Hall MBE OAM.
1.45pm – The second Navy aircraft lands with Keith Payne VC OAM, Rick Meehan OAM and Luke Meehan.
1.50pm - 2pm - Keith Payne to meet and greet dignitaries.
2.05pm - Players assemble on the field. Keith Payne to greet both teams.
2.15pm - Once Keith Payne has finished greeting players, crowd will be asked to stand to observe the Ode and Last Post. Master of Ceremonies will read out the Ode.
2.20pm - Peter Williams to play Last Post on the bugle followed by one minute silence. Peter Williams to play Reveille.
2.40pm - First grade game starts. Luke Meehan will kick off the game ball.