Footballers forge friendships

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Jack Abbott (author), Unknown (photographer)

Location(s): Jinhae, South Korea

 Ships's company of HMAS Rankin with Republic of Korea Defence Force Members after a friendly game of soccer. (photo: Unknown)
Ships's company of HMAS Rankin with Republic of Korea Defence Force Members after a friendly game of soccer.

HMAS Rankin recently visited Jinhae Naval Base, South Korea, as part of Exercise PACIFIC REACH 2016, a six-nation submarine exercise involving Australia, South Korea, the United States, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia.

The exercise focused on the interoperability of submarine rescue operations and the use of submerged rescue vehicles. While alongside for planning meetings, the ship's company of Rankin was invited to play a social soccer match against sailors from the Republic of Korea Navy.

After spending the majority of the last two months at sea on a North East Asian deployment, members of the Australian team were uncertain as to how they would match up against what appeared to be much younger and fitter opponents. 

They were relieved when the match official asked if the Rankin could split into two and play alongside with members from the home side. 

Teams transformed into 'strips' versus 'no strips' and the laughter and banter quickly started on both teams as the variable playing ability of some of the ship's company became apparent on the field.

Within five minutes of the opening whistle, Able Seaman Maritime Logistics - Chef Submarines Trent Bailey was assisted from the field with an ankle injury before Rankin's Weapons Electrical Engineering Officer, Lieutenant Andrew Clay, scored the first goal. 

The ball found the net after he struck it with his left foot which put the 'Strips' in the lead 1-0. The goalkeeping abilities of Able Seaman Electrical Technical Submarines John Brown in the second half ensured that no further points were conceded to the 'strips' and the score remained unchanged.

The Republic of Korea Navy Commander Submarine Force, Rear Admiral Youn Jeong Sang, made an appearance in the second half of the match however he was not able to even the scores on behalf of the 'no strips'. 

It seemed that the pressure applied by his own sailors was far less of that received by the members from Rankin. The match was taken out by 'strips' with a final score of 1-0.

The game between the two nations provided a suitable reminder of the team work and camaraderie underpinning the success of the exercise.