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Swans remember HMAS Sydney

IMAGINE the entire playing lists of all 16 clubs being wiped out in one fell swoop.

That's the vision that Sydney Swans co-captain Adam Goodes will carry on to the SCG on Saturday when his side battles its fiercest rival West Coast for the inaugural HMAS Sydney II Cup.

Six hundred and forty-five sailors were lost when the HMAS Sydney II was sunk off the coast of Western Australia in November, 1941 and the ship's wreckage was only discovered in March, 2008.

In a joint initiative supported by the AFL, the Finding Sydney Foundation and the Royal Australian Navy, the Swans and the Eagles will play annually for the HMAS Sydney II Cup, which honours the sacrifice made by those sailors.

"There are 650 players in the AFL and on HMAS Sydney II, there were 645 players on the boat before it sank," Goodes said from the deck of the HMAS Sydney IV at Woolloomooloo on Wednesday. 

"They lost 645 men and women that day... that's equivalent to losing all the AFL players in the League. When you put that into context and how much you value lives, it's a huge amount of people."

The Swans co-captain said it was an honour to play for the inaugural cup in the Anzac Round, but the strength of the Swans-Eagles rivalry would ensure the clash was a special occasion, regardless of when it was played in future years.

"[It] has the mateship, the camaraderie, the loyalty that our sailors and our army people go through," Goodes said.

"You can tell when you watch a Swans and West Coast Eagles game, that competitiveness is really fair and fair dinkum, and that goes a lot with the culture of Australian people."

Swans defender Rhyce Shaw, who played in four Anzac Day clashes for Collingwood against Essendon, supported his brother Heath's call for the commemorative game to remain the preserve of the Magpies and Bombers.

However, he was open to the idea of change if the AFL decided to share the occasion among the 14 other clubs.

"I grew up watching the Collingwood-Essendon games and playing in them, and I think it's a pretty special occasion for the whole AFL," he said.

"It just so happens to be Collingwood and Essendon that play those games. I think it should be kept like that, but if the AFL want to change it, it's up to them and it wouldn't faze me one bit."

After farewelling Collingwood's famous rivalries with Essendon and Carlton at the end of 2008, Shaw experienced the intensity of the Swans-Eagles match-up in his team's last-gasp win at ANZ Stadium last year.

"No matter where the teams are on the table, it's always a massive clash," he said.

"It's like the Collingwood-Carlton games - it doesn't matter where they are on the table, they'll always fight out a good game and West Coast-Sydney is no different. It's going to be a massive game for both teams."

Click here to watch a video of the HMAS Sydney IV tour.