One month into their North East Asian deployment HMA Ships Arunta and Sirius joined forces to take on the Royal Malaysian Navy in a friendly game of soccer during a port visit to Kemaman. It was a hotly contested game with both teams demonstrating a high level of competitiveness however it was the Malaysians who came out on top winning 3-1.
The Australian contingent, braving the heat and humidity, won the toss and kicked off the first 30 minute half. The Australians took charge and wasted no time in testing the Malaysian defence which proved strong and experienced.
Before long the Malaysians were dominating with possession but some sound defence by the Australians and some fingertip saves by the Australian keeper, held the Malaysians at bay. The Malaysians persistence and patience paid off when a short range bullet from their striker squeezed past the keeper to take an early lead. The Aussies used this early set back as motivation and shortly after a long range curve ball, from the Australian captain, Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Matthew Parry, found the back of the net to level the score.
As half-time approached the Malaysians were able to make one final break and a minor lapse in the visitor’s defence allowed an uncontested shot at goal making the score at half-time 2-1.
Some inspirational words from the Australian captain kept the team focussed and ready to get back on the pitch for the second half.
Without delay the Australians demonstrated the game was far from over and managed to level the possession and territory deficit taking it to the host’s defence.
"Several spectacular tackles proved to the Malaysians that we were willing to put it all on the line, and some brilliant runs by Able Seaman Maritime Logistics - Support Operations Suphawadee Phondongnok demonstrated to the all-male Malaysian team that the Aussie females on the field were not to be trifled with," said Able Seaman Parry.
During the second half the Royal Australian Navy team left nothing in the tank with several fantastic attempts at goal from Lieutenant Sonia Clark, Lieutenant Commander Andrew Thorpe and Able Seaman Parry, however none were able to find the mark. The Malaysians made similar attempts however with the advantage of technical prowess and good positioning they managed to take the lead with a full time score of 3-1.
Regardless of the score the Australians thoroughly enjoyed the competition and the day ended with some jovial cheers and some exchanging of jerseys. All involved relished the opportunity to blow off some steam and both ships are eagerly awaiting details of the next sporting contest of the deployment.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20152789.