West Coast Eagles and Geelong Football Club support Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia’s push for themed Long Tan match, by Brittany Shanahan, Leader Newspaper, 15 January 2016.

An edited extract of the original article appears below.

TWO AFL clubs have backed the idea of playing a match to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan which was fought during the Vietnam War.

Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia Victorian branch president Major Robert Elworthy, from Greensborough, said he received an “overwhelmingly positive” response from the West Coast and Geelong football clubs to play a one-off match.

They were also supportive of the AFL organising a commemorative round to coincide with the anniversary on August 18.

“It would indeed be a fitting tribute to Australian Vietnam veterans who served their nation during one of Australia’s longest and most controversial wars with the same honour and distinction as did the original Anzacs,” Maj Elsworthy said.

“We don’t want to take anything away from Anzac Day, but we’re hopeful the AFL will look at the idea of this one-off theme.”

In emails seen by the Diamond Valley Leader, former SANFL and AFL footballer and coach Graham Cornes told Maj Elworthy he had spoken with AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan who would follow up the “worthy cause” with the league’s Game and Market Development manager Simon Lathlean…

(Maj Elworthy) said the Vietenam Veteran’s Association of Australia planned to discuss the proposal with AFL officials by the end of January.

AFL spokesman Patrick Keane said while the commemorative match was not included in the 2016 fixture, the AFL would be “open to discussing the idea if two clubs were keen to pursue such an initiative”.

Geelong and West Coast are not set to play each other in August this year.

Maj Elworthy said he hoped decendants of Vietnam veterans who played AFL, including Nathan Buckley, Lenny Hayes, Glenn Archer, Brad and Chris Scott and Chad and Kane Cornes — would support the idea…

Photo: Major Robert Elworthy, President Vietnam Veterans’ Association of Australia, Victorian Branch President.

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