The View From Shepparton – Anzac Day

It is 3 am and my thoughts are swirling around as lie in bed  thinkindg about the totality of yesterday’s  Anzac Day.


Obviously on this site this should relate to yet another great game of Aussie Rules but really to call this event, great as it was, the highlight of the day would be an insult to the memories of those who gave their lives for our country in the most unimaginable and horrible circumstances.


I think what a weak whinger I am, I have been niggled lately by a foot injury which has made life difficult at the gym. I have worried that I can’t run properly, that perhaps it is time to face the inevitable, I have to yield to age and accept that I can no longer aspire to the sort of fitness that for years I have been able to maintain. Then yet again I try to imagine those who stormed Gallipoli in 2015 who were sitting ducks as they rushed onto the beach, they would have had no time to worry about a “niggling foot injury”. Then I think of those involved on the Western Front with particular reference to the capture of the French town Villers-Bretonneux on Anzac Day 1918. Both these places came to the fore as I watched the televised Dawn Service from each venue . And I haven’t even mentioned the Kokoda Track! And as a passing thought I thought that my attitude was pretty weak in that I could not motivate myself to attend the dawn service here at Shepparton.


Like most Australians I have a personal interest as well, I lost an uncle, Pilot Officer William Everard Nichterlein who was lost in an air battle off Darwin on 20 June 1943. I quote from the Roll of Honour held at the Australian War Memorial:

Service number: 416104

Rank: Pilot Officer

Unit: 452 Squadron

Service: Royal Australian Air Force

Conflict: 1939-1945

Date of death: 20 June 1943

Place of death: Off Darwin, Northern Territory

Cause of death: Flying Battle (” Pilot Officer Willie Everard Nichterlein (416104) was also shot down and killed in Spitfire EE 607 over Adam Bay, Van Diemen Gulf on the same day”).

I never met my “Uncle Bill”, had I done so from what I know about him which is not that much (except that he was “really good” at sports, particularly baseball and middle distance running), he might have been a real role model for me as I had no other senior male relatives in my extended family. If I feel so emotional about a man I never knew and who didn’t leave a family, how must it be for those who have left young families or  who have left those young families or indeed their extended families to cope when they have come back home broken either physically, mentally, or both?


I think that even though many if not most members of our secular society denies this, there is spiritual part to us all. In my opinion even the  one minute silence of 87,000 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground attests to this although it might have been more out of respect and honour for those who allowed us to live the lives we now have rather than being of any religious significance. Nevertheless I must confess to being vaguely uneasy when our Prime Minister who gave an excellent and moving speech at Gallipoli is nevertheless an avowed atheist, a standard which seemed out of place  in an environment where faith in God was freely expressed by prayer and “Abide With Me”. Who cannot be moved by this? I am absolutely aware though that under the watch of this same God the horrible things which I have mentioned very briefly and much much more also occurrred and that thus there is a terrible disconnect at times between faith and what really happens and that for many this is a step too far. In any case a society which allows  this divergence of opinion is exactly the sort of society that our soldiers, sailors and airmen fought for.


So the game happened and I am so glad that it did, it is totally part of our culture now. If there has been a better Anzac day match I certainly cannot recall it. I think that both teams played the game in a really great spirit, It was tough it was close, many times  possession was hard fought for. How about Alwyn Davey’s goal, the ball was a writhing, snaking, bouncing thing as it jerked towards and then went through the posts. How good was Cloke, turning his opponent inside out and getting that goal or kicking again from a million miles out. And then there was Swan, said to be too out of condition, let’s call it for what it is, too fat, at odds with the coach, a lazy trainer, well nobody from Essendon got near him in terms of possessions or raw physical presence.


I didn’t notice any of the annoying niggling which has become such a blight on out game. I, like the TV audience around the nation could not believe that Goldsacks’s goal wasn’t allowed. If the replays aren’t conclusive with the current system then perhaps touch sensors should be added to the padding on the goal posts and point posts. I am not suggesting that this would be failsafe either because a lot of times the ball might pass the post at exactly the same time as defenders were crashing into it. It would though at least be an added technology which in principle I am not against in a day and age where any mistake can make a huge difference. Essendon went “coast to coast” after that but I must admit that I cannot recall if it was from that exact kick out.


Collingwood were absolutely the deserved winners. Apart from the first few minutes of the first quarter and the few frantic minutes in the last they were clearly the better side. Dane Swan was the deserved winner of the Anzac Day Medal.


My highlight of the match, Blair’s goal because of the time frame in which it happened. The lowlight, well apart from Hibberd’s injury, couldn’t think of any. This really was a match for the ages.


Peter Schumacher



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My highlight of the match, Blair’s goal because of the time frame in which it happened. The lowlight, well apart from Hibberd’s injury, couldn’t think of any. This really was a match for the ages.
Peter Schumacher

About Peter Schumacher

Wannabe footy commentator and writer, used to be a wannabe footballer


  1. I’m currently reading “fall of Giants” by Ken Follett. It is based within the time frame of WWI. One particular line that resonates is where a soldier questions an officer, in qualified circumstances, “Were our leaders/officers fools or liars?” in reference to the Battle of The Somme.They either knew that the artillery bombardment of the German lines was ineffective or they were to stupid to realise that their troops were being sent to certain deaths with no hope of achieving their objective.

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