Warriors meet warriors in lead-up to Invictus Games

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Gary McHugh (author), LS Jayson Tufrey (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Stirling, WA

Topic(s): HMAS Stirling, HMAS Dechaineux (S76), Cricket, Invictus Games, Adaptive Sports, Wheelchair Rugby

Australian Invictus Games team members and Western Warriors cricket team members after a wheelchair rugby exhibition match at Royal Australian Navy base, HMAS Stirling, WA. (photo: LS Jayson Tufrey)
Australian Invictus Games team members and Western Warriors cricket team members after a wheelchair rugby exhibition match at Royal Australian Navy base, HMAS Stirling, WA.

Athletes from two very different sporting arenas came together recently when members of the Western Warriors cricket team spent a few hours with the Australian Invictus Games wheelchair rugby team at HMAS Stirling.

The rugby team, which was in Perth as part of its training preparations for the upcoming Invictus Games in October, invited the cricketers to attend a training session at the Stirling gymnasium.

Wheelchair rugby team coach Warrant Officer Communications Information Systems Andrew Bertoncin said the day provided a fantastic opportunity for the wheelchair rugby players to interact with sportsmen who are considered to be at the top of their game.

“Our team is in the development stage so it’s really valuable for them to meet and interact with elite level sportsmen, and to get an understanding of what they do to prepare themselves for competition,” he said.

“In return, the cricketers got an insight into how adaptive sport gives sportspeople with injuries the opportunity to continue to play sport, and to enjoy all the benefits that go with it.”

The two teams also came together for an informal question and answer session held after lunch at the Sir James Stirling Mess Annexe.

WO Bertoncin said this provided the ideal opportunity for his team to get an understanding of the issues that elite sportspeople face, and how they cope with those issues.

“This allowed the Invictus team to realise that coping with anxiety and apprehension is common to all athletes, no matter what sport they are playing and at what level that competition is,” he said.

Before meeting and training with the Invictus team, the cricketers were given a tour of HMAS Stirling which included spending time on HMAS Dechaineux.

Western Warriors captain Mitch Marsh said his first time on a submarine would leave a lasting impression on him.

“Sometimes, we feel that as cricketers we work in a high-pressure environment but I’d imagine that in a submarine, especially when things aren’t going right for you, it takes it to a whole new level,” he said.

“After getting some sort of understanding of what life is like on a submarine, you have to have a lot of respect for the men and women who work in that environment.”

The Invictus Games will be held in Sydney from October 20-27.