A picture perfect Sydney winters day on Friday 4 July at Henson Park, Marrickville saw the inaugural Rugby League Test match between Navy and the Royal Marines.
The new Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett and Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer were both in attendance which helped inspire Navy to achieve a hard fought win scoring the winning try in the final minutes of play defeating the Royal Marines 38 to 34.
Both teams played the game with the pride and courage that comes from representing your country and Service. A 16-all half time score set up an exciting second half with both teams emerging from the sheds with fire in their eyes and a determination to win.
As the Navy matched the Royal Marines try for try through the second half the Royal Marines high level of fitness began to show towards the latter part of the second half as they gained a six point advantage nearing the end of the game. They almost took their lead to10 points except for a dogged Navy defence.
The Referee ruled against the Royal Marines ruling a knock on in the process of scoring a try. This became the turning point in the game. From the grandstand everyone could feel the momentum change and the team lift.
On the back of a Man of the Match performance by Able Seaman Ricky Farr, Navy’s can do mentality and never say die attitude along with their playing experience took over and in the final ten minutes scored back to back tries.
The winning try was scored with only two minutes of play remaining on the back of an inspirational hit up by Able Seaman Phillip Samuelu followed by a line break and inspirational run by Able Seaman Kevin Allsopp.
The small but vocal crowd were treated to a wonderful display of Rugby League played in the true spirit of the game.
The Royal Marines used their Australian Tour and Test Match against Navy to hone their skills in preparation for their upcoming match at home against the British Parachute Regiment. Although this was the Royal Marines third game in a week they displayed the skills and discipline which will stand them in good stead against the Para’s.
For Navy it was an honour to play against the Royal Marines and places Navy Rugby League in a good position for the upcoming Maritime Tri-Nations Rugby League Tournament against the Royal Navy and Royal New Zealand Navy during Navy Week in October.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20141997.