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Airdate - The Footy Show On Foreign Fields @Channel9

SportKevin Perry
 image - Nine Network

image - Nine Network

Thursday, April 23, at 11.00pm on Nine
(Please Check Local Guides)

In the lead-up to the centenary of the Gallipoli landing, The Footy Show host Garry Lyon and Essendon footballers Jobe WatsonCale Hooker and Tom Bellchambers have embarked on an emotional pilgrimage to Turkey. 

The four men travelled there for Remembrance Day last year to pay their respects on the battlefields of Gallipoli for On Foreign Fields, a special Footy Show presentation which will screen at 11.00pm Thursday on Channel Nine following The AFL Footy Show

They visited Anzac Cove, key battlegrounds of the campaign, and the many grave sites along the Gallipoli peninsula.

“It’s certainly one of the most humbling places I’ve been to,” Essendon captain Jobe Watson said. “You have to come here to feel it.”

Their visit to the graves and reading the inscriptions from family members was especially tough. 

“You read the plaques and it humanises it,” Watson said. “You read ‘My only son – 17-years-old, 19-years-old’. It hit me then.” 

Bellchambers said the visit would be foremost in his mind when Essendon takes on Collingwood at the MCG on Anzac Day, particularly the sacrifice, honour and bravery of our war heroes. 

“It’s something that I’ll hold close to my heart. Playing on Anzac Day will mean a hell of a lot more now,” he said.

Hooker said the trip made playing in the Anzac Day game even more meaningful.

“It makes you appreciate what they did,” he said. “You feel very privileged to be able to be a part of that Essendon-Collingwood game.”

The men visited the grave of Andrew “Chris” Fogarty, one of three Essendon players who died in the First World War. 

Most harrowing for Lyon and the players was their visit to The Nek, the battleground where wave after wave of Australian Lighthorsemen were cut down by Turkish machine gun fire.

The four men said the sacrifice, duty and mateship of those soldiers was heartbreaking, knowing that when the whistle went it was their turn to face certain death.

“I’m trying to imagine what’s going through your mind, knowing you’re going to die, but not being sure why,” Watson said.

“You try to put yourself in the same position … I think it’s the most extraordinary thing,” Lyon added.