Army takes prize at rugby championships

This article has photo gallery Published on CAPT Mick Trainor (author), LEUT Kirsti Welling-Burtenshaw (author), CPL Brenton Kwaterski (photographer)

Location(s): Brisbane, Queensland

Sergeant Brooke Saunders takes on the Navy defence during the women's Navy versus RAAF game at the ADF Rugby Union Championships. (photo: CPL Brenton Kwaterski)
Sergeant Brooke Saunders takes on the Navy defence during the women's Navy versus RAAF game at the ADF Rugby Union Championships.

The Royal Australian Navy’s Rugby elite took to the field recently at the Australian Defence Force Rugby Championships held at Ballymore Stadium in Brisbane. 

After conclusive wins against Air Force in both the women’s (27 – 5) and men’s (36 – 21) games, Navy shaped up against Army on the final game day in front of 1000-plus enthusiastic fans including His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK, MC (Ret’d), Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia and the Vice Chairman of Australian Defence Force Rugby Union, Commodore Michael Rothwell.

The score line didn’t reflect the action on the field in the women’s game where Navy were in the thick of it, but just couldn’t convert on their opportunities. 

Able Seaman Lydia Kavoa was outstanding both in defence and attack and was instrumental in preventing Army running away with the game. As such, she was awarded women’s player of the championships and deservedly so.

At the final whistle Army had taken the game 22 – 5, but there were periods of brilliance from Navy.

Able Seaman Kavoa was philisophical about her team’s performance.

“Navy always puts everything into our games and although we didn’t come out with the win, we didn’t leave anything on the field and that is the best we can do,” she said. 

“Individually a lot of the team got selected for the Defence squads which is a reflection of the player depth and talent. We will keep working and take it to Army in 2017.”

In the men’s game Navy got off to a flying start and took an early lead in the first few mintues of the game playing with determination and rigour from one end of the field to the other. 
 
Army’s fitness started to wear the boys in blue down and by half time Army led 29 – 13.
 
A strong talk in the dressing room and Navy came out firing, providing some stiff resistance early in the second half but were unable to capatilise to close the gap allowing Army to regain control of the iniative and see out the match with a win of 43 - 18. 

Navy Men’s Coach Warrant Officer Dave Carter was immesnely proud of the team and its performance. 

“The team played a very hard game against a well drilled Army side. We will continue to work hard as we move forward into the future in Navy Rugby,” said Warrant Officer Carter. 

Selectors rated Lieutenant Josh Friend as Navy’s best player across the tournament.

Despite the scoreline, both Navy teams had reason to celebrate with 20 players being named in the Australian Defence Force squads. The Navy players named were:

Women

Able Seaman Brittany Able
Leading Seaman Amy Carpenter
Able Seaman Naomi Curran
Able Seaman Mahalia Ellis
Able Seaman Phoebe Evans
Able Seaman Shannon Evans
Able Seaman Saluluelanei Gray
Able Seaman Lydia Kavoa
Able Seaman Franceen Ketchell
Lieutenant Sara Mooney
Sub Lieutenant Eve Parker
Seaman Michaela Peck
Able Seaman Vika Pinomi
Leading Seaman Danica Sinclair
Able Seaman Melissa Sirett

Men

Chief Petty Officer Ryan Brook
Sub Lieutenant Josh Friend
Able Seaman jake Macpherson
Leading Seaman David Phillips
Able Seaman Alex Wilson