Three Black Diamond AFL footballers will attempt to end a five year losing streak for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) All Stars today when they meet Australian Combined Emergency services in their annual ANZAC clash.
The game will be played at Adelaide Oval as a curtain raiser to the AFL match between Port Adelaide and Geelong.
Newcastle City fullback, Riley Lang (pictured left) and forward pocket Stefan Mapleson and Nelson Bay midfielder, Aaron Clayden (pictured right) were the only RAAF employees to be selected in the ADF All Stars side, that also includes army and navy personnel. All three work at Williamtown in different departments.
It will be Lang and Mapleson’s debut in the Anzac clash, while Clayden has played in victorious sides in 2005 and 2007.
Selection for the ADF All Stars caps off a meteoric rise in the sport for Lang.
“I never played AFL until I moved to Newcastle four years ago and it was one of my housemates from South Australia that got me into it” Lang said.
“Out of the entire Airforce the only three players in the side have come out of the BDAFL, so its good for the Newcastle region”.
This will be the 11th edition of the Anzac clash with the honours shared at 5-5 but the ADF All Stars have not tasted success since 2008.
Both Lang and Clayden experienced Premiership success with their respective clubs in 2013 whilst Mapleson has returned to Newcastle City this year after having last played for Sale in Victoria.
The players have yet to make an appearance for their club sides in 2014 and ironically Nelson Bay and Newcastle City will do battle at Dick Burwell Oval today.