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The Rabbitohs And The 104th Battery

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To celebrate ANZAC Round in 2017, the Rabbitohs are producing a special ANZAC Round Jersey to honour our past and present servicemen. $5 from every sale will go towards kitting out the 104th Battery with new Rabbitohs training gear.

In 1967 the 104th Battery joined the 12th Field Regiment based in Holsworthy, South-West Sydney, in preparation for deployment to South Vietnam. They were the new men in the Regiment and felt like the underdogs compared to the more established batteries. In that same year the Rabbitohs, underdogs in the 1967 Grand Final, broke the 11 year dominance of the St George Dragons. An affinity between underdogs was born.

During the early days of the 104th Battery, after rigorous training, the soldiers would often relax by going to watch the football on the weekends. The Battery, being raised in Sydney, had a lot of personnel from South Sydney who were Rabbitohs supporters.

In 1967, the men of the 104th Battery were greeted by their Battery Sergeant Major every morning parade as “you greasy germs” – a label they wore with pride.

The ‘Germs’ cast aside their Army-issued physical training clothes in favour of the South Sydney Rabbitohs jersey, aligning their underdog status with that of the giant killing Rabbitohs.

“It was very much the underdog, the story of the underdog coming through and triumphing that lead to the guys wearing the South Sydney Rabbitohs’ gear,” said Captain Robert Best, Battery Captain of the 104th.

Tickets to our ANZAC Round from $5 for Juniors, $40 for Families and free entry for servicemen - Click here!

When the Battery deployed to Vietnam in 1968 and 1971, they took their jerseys with them and would wear them during down-time.

“This deployment period coincided with a golden age for the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the soldiers took strength from the on-field success of their beloved team,” said Major Robert O’Donnell, Battery Commander of the 104th.

“Since then, the 104th Battery has worn the Rabbitohs colours in conflicts all over the world, including Vietnam, Cambodia, East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq.”

Fifty years after the association between the 104th Battery and the South Sydney Rabbitohs began, the tradition of wearing the colours of the South Sydney Rabbitohs continues.

“Recent years have seen members of the Battery deploy to the Middle East and represent the Battery with the highest esteem and were quite vocal of their affiliation with South Sydney and the red and green Army,” said Captain Nick Woodhams, Joint Fires Team Commander.

The current members of the 104th Battery wear a physical training uniform that closely resembles the South Sydney Rabbitohs jersey and all Battery members have been ordered to become Rabbitohs fans every weekend of the NRL Premiership.

“[The training uniform] is pretty much identical – We’ve got the red and green hoops on our PT shirts and we’re definitely the most recognizable sub-unit that gets around doing physical training,” explains Battery Captain Robert Best.

“We have to supply our own physical training shirts so we chip in the money to get them. We also design it and it gets approved but we have to front it ourselves.

“I was deployed to Afghanistan last year and Joint Fires Team Commander Nicholas Woodhams was deployed the year before to Iraq. When we were over there we both were wearing our Rabbitohs colours shirts and you get a lot of questions about it.”

“We want to emphasis our history because we are the smallest of three batteries here in Brisbane. We want to re-invigorate that fifty year history that we have so we’ve gone back to that Vietnam era days and obviously the South Sydney link is a tradition we’re proud of.”

To celebrate ANZAC Round in 2017, the Rabbitohs are producing a special ANZAC Round Jersey to honour our past and present servicemen. $5 from every sale will go towards kitting out the 104th Battery with new Rabbitohs training gear.

Get your Rabbitohs ANZAC Round Jersey Here!