Keeping in touch with community

Published on CPL Max Bree (author), Mr Ben Wickham (photographer)

Location(s): Randwick, New South Wales

Topic(s): Touch football

LS Jodie Khan (centre), ADF Touch Football team, attempts to tag a player from Matraville Sports High School during the grand final. (photo: Ben Wickham)
LS Jodie Khan (centre), ADF Touch Football team, attempts to tag a player from Matraville Sports High School during the grand final.

Members of the local Aboriginal community were put to the test against Defence touch football sides during a tournament at Randwick, Sydney, in late
 September.
 
Teams from the Australian Army base at Holsworthy and RAAF Base Richmond, and a combined Australian Defence Force side with members from HMA Ships Albatross and Canberra and RAAF Base Williamtown, participated.
 
17 Brigade’s Indigenous Liaison Officer Sergeant John Angel-Hands also brought in four Aboriginal sides.
 
“As soon as I approached the local high school, they were straight on board, as they have a high percentage of Indigenous students,” he said.
 
“The Redfern All Blacks heard about it and contacted us through Army and asked if they could also get involved.”
 
Some of the teams designed their own Aboriginal-style jerseys that were provided by the Australian Defence Force Touch Association.
 
The Australian Defence Force set, which was also an Aboriginal style, was given to the Matraville High side at the end of the day.
 
The Australian Defence Force touch side won on the day, with Matraville finishing second and Redfern third.
 
The first prize was an Indigenous painting that will be kept at 17 Combat Service Support Brigade until the competition is played again next year.
 
Commander 17 Combat Service Support Brigade Brigadier Paul Nothard said the event was important for recognising the significance of competition, sport and fitness in Australian and Australian Defence Force culture.
 
“It also reinforces the relationships and continues to grow a mutual respect between Defence, Indigenous people and the local community,” Brigadier Nothard said