Ronnie Hobbs and Stephen O’Neil hold the Long Tan round guernsey.

Eels win inaugural Long Tan Commemorative match

The Ellenbrook Eels acknowledge Vietnam veterans with a commemorative match.
August 17, 2023

ELLENBROOK Eels have won the Battle of Long Tan commemorative match against the Cockburn Cobras 8.8 (56) to 7.10 (52) in a close fought thriller at Ellenbrook District Open Space on Saturday.

The Eels took the lead in the first quarter, before the Cobras evened the scores at half-time, and then went on to a 7-point lead at the three-quarter time break.

But it was a pep-talk from a Long Tan veteran at half-time that helped the Eels to victory, according to Ellenbrook Football Club life member and veteran Ronnie Hobbs.

“He went into change rooms at half-time and told the boys that Long Tan soldiers don’t lose,” Mr Hobbs said.

Eel’s captain Jordan Barber was awarded the Long Tan medal, with his work in the final quarter instrumental in winning the game – it was his late-game goal that put the Eels back in front.

Alongside the match, the Eels designed and auctioned off a Battle of Long Tan round guernsey to raise funds for the Ellenbrook RSL branch.

Mr Hobbs said the guernsey’s were designed to honour the 18 soldiers killed in action at Long Tan, and said that the auction raised more than $5000 for the Ellenbrook RSL branch.

Ellenbrook RSL club president Stephen O’Neil said it was a great day and hopes that the club will make the match a regular fixture of the Eel’s season.

“The funds that we received will go towards assisting our veteran community, and veterans in need,” he said.

Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia Western Australia branch president Richard Williams said he appreciates that the Ellenbrook Eels have taken time to acknowledge Vietnam Veterans.   

Mr Williams said veterans in attendance included three members of the 103 Battery, Royal Australian Artillery, who fired support for those who fought in the Battle of Long Tan.

“The Vietnam Veterans in Western Australia appreciate the support of the Ellenbrook Football Club,” he said.

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