Old 'n' bold rugby builds resilience

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Graham Swan (author), Michael Thompson Photography (photographer)

Location(s): GIO Stadium Canberra

Topic(s): Sport, Rugby Union, Health, Fitness and Wellbeing

Captain Nick Stoker clears the ball from a scrum during the Navy Old Salt's versus ACT Veterans rugby match in Canberra. (photo: Michael Thompson)
Captain Nick Stoker clears the ball from a scrum during the Navy Old Salt's versus ACT Veterans rugby match in Canberra.

Navy Old Salts turned out against the ACT Vets on 8 April, for a not so torrid 'Golden Oldies' rugby game as a curtain raiser to the Brumbies v Reds Super Rugby Fixture in Canberra.

The Old Salts and ACT Vets have done battle for several years and set out this year to break the deadlock which has often been a nine all draw. The event maintains positive relationships between serving and ex-serving members and links directly into the civilian community through the charities supported.

ACT Veterans is a thriving Golden Oldies Rugby club who play ten or so fixtures each season. The club functions as much as a social club and fundraising organisation as it does an elite sporting fraternity. 

Although it has a distinctly khaki heritage there are a good few ex-Navy members but ... be warned, they actually train!

The Old Salts opened the scoring with a superb running try which was answered quickly by the Veterans with an devastating charge upfield.

The scores were locked at five all. 

There was a good deal more fancy footwork by Chief Petty Officer Dan Carter running off the deft distribution of scrum half, Captain Nick Stoker, but there were no further points in the first half.

In the second half (another gruelling 10 minutes) the standard remained high.

The biggest performance in the forwards the went to Navy's biggest man Mick Trotter, who's elegance when trucking the ball up has to be seen to be appreciated. 

Although tries may have been scored your correspondent was too busy catching his breath to notice where or by whom. Suffice to say the final score was, surprisingly in a game with no goal kicking, nine all ... again.

Navy's player of the match was Shane Paton, he was busy defending his wing and seemed relieved not to be playing hooker. His man of the match performance was given for commitment as he drove from Newcastle to Canberra just to be a part of the epic clash.

In the post match presentation the Vets' fundraising delivered two cheques of $1,250 each to the Canberra Hospital Foundation, received by Dr Tim McDonald, and to Legacy, received by the president of ACT Legacy, Rear Admiral Gerry Carwardine (Retd). 

The Admiral noted that he had "a foot in both camps" through his association with Legacy and his naval career although he did seem to be supporting the Old Salts.

It was a both privilege and lot of fun for the Old Salts to be associated with this fine activity and they hope be back there to do it again next year.

More photos of the day are at http://www.mtphoto.com.au and for information on ACT Vets Rugby visit http://www.actvetsrugby.org.au.