New Squadron parades Australian national sport in the US

Published on LEUT Mark Flowerdew (author), LCDR Stephan Immerz (photographer), Mrs Cindy Murray (photographer)

Location(s): Jacksonville, FL, USA

Topic(s): 725 Squadron, Australian Rules Football

Able Seaman Hall and Warrington contest the ball in a friendly game of Australian rules football between NUSQN 725 and the Fort Lauderdale Fighting Squids at NAS Jacksonville in Florida. (photo: LCDR Stephan Immerz)
Able Seaman Hall and Warrington contest the ball in a friendly game of Australian rules football between NUSQN 725 and the Fort Lauderdale Fighting Squids at NAS Jacksonville in Florida.

New Squadron (NUSQN) 725 personnel took time out of their hectic schedules to compete in an exhibition game of Australian Rules Football on a very warm Saturday in Florida recently. The squadron members played against the Fort Lauderdale Fighting Squids alongside US Navy counterparts, who donned Aussie rules jerseys for the first time.

The game was played in great spirits at Seaking Oval, at Naval Air Station Jacksonville where the squadron is temporarily based. Both teams dominated play at different points in the game. The Squids definitely had the early ascendancy, having played together, as a team, for longer than 725 Squadron’s footballers, who had only had two training sessions prior to the clash.

New Squadron 725 prepare to take on the Fort Lauderdale Fighting Squids in a game of Australian Rules Football at their Jacksonville base in Florida.

New Squadron 725 prepare to take on the Fort Lauderdale Fighting Squids in a game of Australian Rules Football at their Jacksonville base in Florida.

As the game progressed, 725 Squadron’s fitness and team work began to shine through. After a big last quarter, 725 won comfortably, kicking the last five goals of the game.

Highlights of the day included goals from impact players (Commander David Frost and Lieutenant Warren Oates), a solid run from old hands (Warrant Officer Darren Murray and Chief Petty Officer Darren Gration), good finishing in front of goal from some young guns (Able Seaman Jarrod Hall and Able Seaman Liam Sulley) and strong defence from Leading Seaman Benjamin Elliott and Able Seaman Jesse Bryant.

Speaking post match, the Commanding Officer of NUSQN 725, Commander David Frost said it was great to showcase AFL in the United States.

“This was an extremely successful day as not only was it our squadrons first official sporting event; it was also an excellent opportunity for us to showcase one of Australia’s premier sports,” he said.

Chief Petty Officer Darren Gration (in white) of NUSQN 725 and Lieutenant Morgan Carter of the US Coastguard/RAN exchange, contest the ball during a game of Australian Rules at NAS Jacksonville.

Chief Petty Officer Darren Gration (in white) of NUSQN 725 and Lieutenant Morgan Carter of the US Coastguard/RAN exchange, contest the ball during a game of Australian Rules at NAS Jacksonville.

The match was strongly supported on the sidelines by Australian and American military and civilian personnel, many of whom had never seen the game before.

“I had no idea what y’all where doing out there to begin with, but it didn’t take too long to catch on,” commented one of the spectators to the Australian sailors.

NUSQN 725 will now turn its attention to cricket, with personnel planning to challenge the local Royal Navy (British) exchange personnel to an Ashes exhibition match, with United States Navy sailors and officers also planning on donning whites and getting involved.