Canberra back to back contenders for 'Father Mac Cup'

This article has photo gallery Published on LSIS Helen Frank (author)

Able Seaman Marine Technician Dimitri Garoufalis takes a mark during training for the upcoming AFL 'Father Mac Cup' in the hangar onboard HMAS Canberra. (photo: LSIS Helen Frank)
Able Seaman Marine Technician Dimitri Garoufalis takes a mark during training for the upcoming AFL 'Father Mac Cup' in the hangar onboard HMAS Canberra.

Not only can HMAS Canberra house over 100 vehicles and 16 helicopters, she is large enough for ship’s company to play AFL in the hangar.

Canberra has been at sea recently conducting First of Class Trials and with the Father Mac Australian Rules Football Cup in the offing, Canberra’s team needed to train despite the lack of grass. So, to the hangar it was.

Commissioned in November 2014, Canberra is the first of two Landing Helicopter Docks to be introduced to Navy. The ship has a crew of 400 and is capable of embarking over 1,000 troops and their cargo, which in turn can be landed ashore by helicopters or state of the art landing craft.

The ship is capable of complex amphibious operations and providing support to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.

Canberra’s AFL team won the cup last year and the team’s spokesperson Able Seaman Marine Technician Dimitri Garoufalis, said this year wouldn't be any different.

“We will be defending the title so other ships and establishments will be after the cup so we must prepare and gain trust in one another,” Able Seaman Garoufalis said.

“I believe we have become a family this year with camaraderie soaring after sailing together.”

Attendance at the training was on the increase as competition between ship mates ramped up for a place on the team.

“I couldn’t believe that we had a ship that allowed us to run full AFL drills in the hangar,”Able Seaman Garoufalis said.

“There are no real limitations as the ship is over 200m long, it could be a great training venue for all sports.”

The team has been working on improving their skills both individually and as a whole, learning each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

“We just have to keep preparing and training hard and we will get the respect we deserve,” he said.

“I believe there isn’t a team that can match us in strength or fortitude on game day.

“I have great respect for my team mates and believe in every one of them as we are Canberra.”