Service connects to footy, home

Chief executive Tom Bottrell said while most Australians enjoyed watching football at home, it was important to recognise those unable to do so.

‘While we get to be at the ground on Anzac Day in relative comfort, we think of our Diggers away from home fighting on behalf of us all,’ he said.

‘Hopefully our servicemen and women can sit down and watch the greatest sport in the world on a day commemorating the occasion that gave Australia its identity.’

Swans Districts development officer and player Chelsea Randall said it was a fantastic reward for those defending the country.

‘It’s an Australian game and Anzac Day is a very memorable day for everyone in Australia.

‘I think it gives them a great connection with people at home because when you’re away for so long, you can feel alienated from the closest people because you have missed so much.’

Edith Cowan University clinical psychologist and sports psychologist Craig Harms said while being away from home for long periods of time was likely to be associated with significant homesickness, not all strategies would help.

‘Many of these strategies would include reminders of home and watching the AFL would be just be another one of those strategies, Dr Harms said.

‘Strategies like this are not perfect at reducing homesickness as some members of the Australian Defence Force may become distressed by reminders of home such as watching AFL.

‘On balance though, there are probably more benefits than problems associated with watching AFL to reduce homesickness.’