Tridents Rugby League team regroup to beat Air Force

This article has photo gallery Published on LCDR Chloe Wootten (author), CPL Shannon McCarthy (photographer)

Location(s): Brisbane, Queensland

Able Seaman Keven Allsopp, breaks away during the Inter-Service Rugby League competition, between Navy and Air Force.  (photo: CPL Shannon McCarthy)
Able Seaman Keven Allsopp, breaks away during the Inter-Service Rugby League competition, between Navy and Air Force.

The Navy Tridents Rugby League team are regrouping after losing to Army but beating Air Force in a tightly fought series in Brisbane recently.

After a week in training camp at RAAF Base Amberley, the Navy side came up against a committed Army team in the first game of the 2015 Inter-Service Rugby League competition.

The game was predominately played in the forwards, becoming a clash of the Titans. Navy's completion rate was less than acceptable explained President Navy Rugby League, Lieutenant Commander Darren Nembach.

"Despite our determined and willing Navy defence, our poor completion rate helped Army to an eight point win," he said.

Army played a more open game against Air Force in the second game scoring the winning try in the dying minutes. Due to an unbeatable two victories, Army were crowned 2015 Inter-Service Rugby League champions, decreeing that the final game, was Navy against Air Force, with both playing for pride.

Royal Australian Navy Rugby League manager Lieutenant Commander Darren Nembach, presents Australian professional rugby league footballer and co-captain for the Brisbane Broncos Corey Parker, with an official tridents jersey.

Royal Australian Navy Rugby League manager Lieutenant Commander Darren Nembach, presents Australian professional rugby league footballer and co-captain for the Brisbane Broncos Corey Parker, with an official tridents jersey.

"All through the build up to the Air Force game the Navy players displayed a positive attitude and a steely determination to not repeat the experience of the heart breaking loss to Air Force in 2014," Lieutenant Commander Nembach said.

The game started well with early points to Navy. Navy matched Air Force try for try but on the back of a 10 to 4 penalty count against Navy, and two separate sin bin offences, Navy played one-quarter of the game with only 12 men on the field.

"We were up against it all the way," Lieutenant Commander Nembach said.

Even a cross-field try-saving tackle stopping a flying Air Force winger dead in his tracks and then bundling him into touch resulted in a penalty to Air Force, much to the bemusement of the crowd.

As a result of that penalty Air Force went into the last five minutes leading 34 to 28. However, the Tridents were not finished with. Navy's defence ensured they kept Air Force in their own half gaining excellent field position to score under the post to draw level with the Air Force 34 points all with only minutes to play.

"Memories of 2014 came flooding back, but we were not there to lose again.

"A chip and chase from our hooker, Able Seaman Ricky Farr, and a great chase from the outside backs, resulted in a scrum feed to us as the clock ticked over to the final minute," Lieutenant Commander Nembach said.

The Tridents quickly formed the scrum to ensure time was stopped and committed themselves to the final play. In a brilliant and determined set of six, Navy moved the ball closer to the Air Force try line and with 15 seconds to go, Navy's half back, Seaman Jack Le Prou called for the ball and expertly kicked the winning field goal beating Air Force 35 to 34.

Navy's pride in their jersey and a 'never say die' attitude ensured the victory was well earned.

The matches were held at the Ipswich Jets home ground. The Jets are a rugby league club near Amberley who compete in the Queensland Cup competition.

During the series Navy players Able Seamen Keven Allsopp, Ricky Farr and James Ryan were selected by the Combined Australian Services Rugby League to represent the Australian Defence Force twice in Brisbane, against the New Zealand Defence Force as a pre-game to the National Rugby League Anzac Test on 1 May, and against a United Kingdom side as a pre-game to the State of Origin Match on 8 July.