Pacific mates take to the pitch for friendlies in Vanuatu

Published on Department of Defence (author), ABIS Steven Thomson (photographer)

Location(s): Port Vila, Vanuatu

Topic(s): HMAS Toowoomba (F156), Soccer, HMAS Success (OR 304), Indo-Pacific Endeavour, Beach Volleyball

Commanding Officer HMAS Toowoomba, Commander Stuart Watters, RAN, presents Commanding Officer RVS Tukuro Kalsaf Graham Alick, with a gift following a friendly soccer match between Vanuatu's Maritime Law Enforcement and HMA Ships Toowoomba and Success during a regional engagement visit to Vanuatu for Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2018.  (photo: ABIS Steven Thomson)
Commanding Officer HMAS Toowoomba, Commander Stuart Watters, RAN, presents Commanding Officer RVS Tukuro Kalsaf Graham Alick, with a gift following a friendly soccer match between Vanuatu's Maritime Law Enforcement and HMA Ships Toowoomba and Success during a regional engagement visit to Vanuatu for Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2018.

Shortly after arriving in Vanuatu recently the ship’s companies of HMA Ships Toowoomba and Success joined the Vanuatu Police Force for an activity cherished by both nations - sport.

The Australian sailors, and embarked soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, played soccer against teams from the Vanuatu Police Force, the Vanuatu Mobile Force and the Vanuatu Police Force Maritime Wing in a round robin tournament at Port Vila’s Municipal Stadium.

On the beach volleyball court, Toowoomba played against a mixed team from Success and the Vanuatu Police Force in a friendly match.

Toowoomba’s Physical Training Instructor, Leading Seaman Matthew Brownfield, said the sports tournament was great for building relationships between the soldiers and sailors from both nations.

“The soccer, for example, was a great match which made for an excellent run out for all involved, regardless of the result,” Leading Seaman Brownfield said.

“The two teams left the field with great mutual respect and appreciation.” 

Sub Lieutenant Jay Crutch from Toowoomba took part in the volleyball.

“The Vanuatu people are truly gracious hosts and the friendships developed today will help build on the already strong relationship between our two countries,” he said.

While there was a diverse range of skills exhibited by the players, Petty Officer Physical Training Instructor Shane Murphy said everyone was squarely focused on their shared enjoyment of sport.

“A fantastic time was had by all, and the camaraderie shown on and off the field was pleasing to see,” Petty Officer Murphy said.

 “Congratulations to everyone involved in what was a great day!”

At the conclusion of the sports events, the players all got together to share a barbeque and the Commanding Officers of the two Australian ships presented the Vanuatu Police Force with a gift of some sports equipment for Vanuatu’s new police college.