HMAS Sydney takes on the Malaysian Navy's finest at football

Published on LCDR Jeremy Richardson (author), LSIS Dove Smithett (photographer)

Location(s): Lumut, Malaysia

Members of HMAS Sydney play a game of soccer against members of the Royal Malaysian Navy at Lumut Naval Base. Malaysia. (photo: LSIS Dove Smithett)
Members of HMAS Sydney play a game of soccer against members of the Royal Malaysian Navy at Lumut Naval Base. Malaysia.

With a blast of a whistle on a humid afternoon in Lumut, Malaysia on the 6 of June 2014, an effort to develop international relations kicked off between the navies of Australia and Malaysia.

After honing their war fighting skills as part of Exercise BERSAMA SHIELD 2014, the crew of HMAS Sydney arrived at the Royal Malaysian Navy’s Western Fleet Base for a break, but took the time to meet their hosts on the soccer field.

The event was supported by a large number of Sydney’s crew and a crowd of local spectators.

The first half of the game presented a true arm wrestle between the teams as each probed for weaknesses in the opposing side and sought to deliver upon their chances. The Malaysians’ overwhelming possession and lightning skills near the net led them to a two-nil lead at half time.

Members of HMAS Sydney play a game of soccer against members of the Royal Malaysian Navy at Lumut Naval Base. Malaysia.

Members of HMAS Sydney play a game of soccer against members of the Royal Malaysian Navy at Lumut Naval Base. Malaysia.


The second half commenced in much the same fashion as the first, with the Sydney side acutely aware of the skills of their hosts, and both teams mounted furious defences with few shots at goal. However Sydney struck first when a chip kick from Seaman Jack Nash had the ball sailing high over the Royal Malaysian Navy goalkeeper’s head and looping into the back of the net.

The excitement continued when a missile-like strike from Able Seaman Ryan Attwood ricocheted off the goalkeeper into the goal to level the scores. As the afternoon wore on, the hot and humid conditions began to favour the Malaysian side more and despite a few heroic individual Sydney goal-saving efforts, the visitors were outmatched. The final whistle blew with the Malaysian team the victors by five goals to two.

The post-game celebrations were then underway for spectators and players alike, with the Royal Malaysian Navy providing some tasty dishes and local delicacies.

Members of HMAS Sydney and members of the Royal Malaysian Navy after a game of soccer together at Lumut Naval Base. Malaysia.

Members of HMAS Sydney and members of the Royal Malaysian Navy after a game of soccer together at Lumut Naval Base. Malaysia.


Sydney's Commanding Officer, Commander Karl Brinckmann said the celebratory spirit provided members of both navies the opportunity to mix and mingle with their foreign counterparts, by far the most important part of international port visits.

“Although the result didn’t go our way today, the efforts in the oppressive heat made Navy proud and strengthened our relationship with the Royal Malaysian Navy.”

The last word obviously belongs to Sydney’s team Captain, Leading Seaman Adam Wallis.

“I thought we did really well for a team that haven’t played much together before. The final score didn’t reflect the amount of heart we showed as a playing group on the day.”