The sacrifices of war aren’t lost on St Kilda AFL player Sam Gilbert who attended the dawn service in Wellington on Friday.

St Kilda AFL player Sam Gilbert says Wellington’s Anzac Day dawn service sent shivers up his spine.

Gilbert, who will miss the Anzac day game against Brisbane in Wellington, stood silently with thousands of Kiwis including Prime Minister John Key to honour the two nations’ war heroes.

“It’s very special. It’s one of those things you’re in awe at, when you’re here,” Gilbert told reporters at Wellington’s Cenotaph.

“To hear when the guns fire, it sends shivers down your spine.

“It’s great to be a part of it.”

Gilbert’s grandfather was a gunner in Papua New Guinea during World War Two, while his grandmother was a nurse in Perth.

“So there’s a fair bit of history with the war so it’s something that means a lot to me.”

Gilbert, 27, is a regular at Anzac Day services in Australia. He said to see it on the other side of the Tasman was an eye-opening experience.

“Sometimes it can be a bit lost (in Australia). New Zealand, they’re such a big part of Anzac,” Gilbert said.

“To be here and to see the way they do it is something special.”

The brutality and ultimate sacrifice of war couldn’t be compared to the battles fought on football fields, he added.

“If you actually look at Anzac and war, it’s something you can’t compare football to. It really puts not just football but life into perspective.”