THE Digger Day match kicked off after Victoria Cross (VC) recipients landed on the Shoalhaven Rugby Park playing field on Saturday.
New Zealand Special Air Service lance corporal Willie Apiata VC, Princess of Wales Royal Regiment private Johnson Beharry VC, Royal Australian Regiment corporal Daniel Alan Keighran VC, Doug Baird representing Royal Australian Regiment Cameron Stewart Baird VC MG (posthumous) and Australian Army Training Team, Vietnam warrant officer Class II Keith Payne VC AM made their entrance on two Navy aircraft.
The sidelines were packed with people who wanted to get a glimpse of the honoured guests who travelled from around the world to be on South Coast soil for the match between Shoalhaven and Kiama rugby clubs.
An MRH90 and Iroquois helicopter also landed and were opened to the public to tour.
Children waved flags and posed in photos with military personnel, but the adults seemed just as excited.
Just before kick-off the last post ceremony was played as it began to rain, but the crowd was not deterred.
Kiama won the match 35 to 26.