Rugby league does an amazing job of bringing people together.

It is what I love most about our game.

Playing on ANZAC Day has been incredibly special for me, a match I regard as the biggest and most important game on the NRL round calendar.

But it is equally important to note that the commemorative match does not belong to us players.

The ANZAC fixture is a day where rugby league takes a step back, and together we pay our respect to all Diggers past and present.

The match has always put footy into perspective for me.

At times we as players, coaches and fans can get lost in the weekly “battle” and “war” of competition, while many of our game’s personalities are heralded as “heroes” for their on-field brilliance.

It isn’t by design to be delivered through misguided intent, but it is our fallen soldiers and the many men and women in the defence force who have served past, present and future who are the real heroes of our communities.

Along with the emergency service men and women, teachers and volunteers who live to enhance public lives.

But on April 25th, the day has always belonged to our diggers, and I couldn’t be more proud of how our game has truly embraced ANZAC Day.

Ask any Dragon or Roosters player this Wednesday and they will each tell you that it is an honour play on this special day, in a match where we simply look to compete in the name of the ANZAC Spirit.

Albeit in much lesser circumstances – mateship and sacrifice are traits we look to replicate in our day-to-day lives.

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Each season the ANZAC game is becoming important to me, and I think that is because each year we hear more and more stories from service men and women who are fighting so hard so that we can live comfortable in this beautiful country we are proud to call home.

The way they lead their lives, and their commitment to family and mateship, is a source of inspiration around the footy club.

As each season has passed since my arrival, the entire playing group has become more and more ingrained as a family; always looking out for one another on-and-off the field.

During Benny Hunt’s first week as a Dragon last summer, many of the boys took him for ride-alongs to help him look for houses around Cronulla while also showing him around his new city.

It is those small, and seemingly insignificant, things that make being part of this footy club so great.

A special mention to the boys for wearing black armbands as I mourned the loss of my Oma; it meant a lot to my family and I, and I know there were some tears shed from my camp in the stands.