Footballers make their mark in UK

Published on LEUT Kellie Brown (author)

Location(s): Portsmouth, United Kingdom, Exeter, United Kingdom, Lympstone, United Kingdom

On Thursday 14th April 2016, 38 Navy Footballers gathered at HMAS Kuttabul, ready to embark on what would be only the Navy Football Federation’s (Navy FFA’s) second international tour, this time to the home of the world game, the United Kingdom. (photo: Unknown)
On Thursday 14th April 2016, 38 Navy Footballers gathered at HMAS Kuttabul, ready to embark on what would be only the Navy Football Federation’s (Navy FFA’s) second international tour, this time to the home of the world game, the United Kingdom.

On 14 April, 38 Navy Footballers gathered at Sydney's HMAS Kuttabul, ready to embark on the Navy Football Federation’s second only international tour, this time to the home of the world game, the United Kingdom. 
 
A 24 hour trip and a few training sessions later, the teams were ready to kick off. The men's team, who were trialling new members (approximately 80 per cent of the starting 11) lost their first game against a strong Portsmouth Command team 6-2. The women's team, having played together in a few tournaments prior to the tour, fared much better beating the Hampshire Police ladies team 6-0. 
 
The teams travelled to the Commando Training Centre – Royal Marines, in Devon for their next challenge.  The men’s team played the Royal Marines (0-3), and the women took on the local city team from Exeter (1-2). Unfortunately neither were able to secure victory however there was the consolation of observing the Royal Marines graduation parade the next day which was a highlight of the tour for many.
 
Then followed the pinnacle of the tour, Anzac Day matches against Royal Navy teams in Portsmouth. The men’s team showed they had learned lessons from their earlier matches going ahead in the first half but were pegged back and went to the interval 1-1 after a finely balanced 45 minutes. Unfortunately the Royal Navy team proved to be the stronger team in the second half, eventually running out worthy (7-1) winnners. The quality of the football was extremely high and the new players in the Australian team played well, only losing as they tired in the final stages. 
 
The Navy Football Federation’s motto of Passion, Commitment, Pride was in force when the women's side took on the Royal Navy, in a nail-biting performance. It was end-to-end action, the Australian side scoring the first goal and the Roayl Navy responding with an equaliser shortly after. The Aussies then reclaimed the ascendancy only to be pegged back again. Fighting hard, the Australians scored an equaliser to end the game at 3-3, honours even - a fitting end to a well balanced match.
 
The valuable experience gained, especially for the newest players, will serve Navy well in its preparations for the Australian Defence Force National Championships toward the end of this year.
 
Navy Football now shifts its focus back to Australian soil when the returning players are joined by others to compete in a seven-a-side tournament in Nowra, New South Wales.