Pacific mates make friendly rivals on the sporting field

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Max Logan (author), CPL Jessica de Rouw (photographer), SGT Matthew Bickerton (photographer)

Location(s): Nuku’alofa, Tonga

Topic(s): Sport, HMAS Adelaide (L01), HMAS Melville (A246), HMAS Larrakia (P84)

Personnel from His Majesty's Armed Forces of Tonga and the ADF play a game of touch football at Tonga Navy establishment HMNB Masefield in Nuku’alofa, Tonga. (photo: CPL Jessica de Rouw)
Personnel from His Majesty's Armed Forces of Tonga and the ADF play a game of touch football at Tonga Navy establishment HMNB Masefield in Nuku’alofa, Tonga.

The islands of Tonga set the scene for some friendly competition during Joint Task Group 637.3’s recent visit to the Pacific nation’s capital Nuku’alofa.

His Majesty’s Armed Forces of Tonga (HMAF) members joined personnel from HMA Ships Adelaide, Melville and Larrakia for touch football at the Tonga Navy establishment HMNB Masefield.

Leading Seaman Personal Training Instructor Scott Ruthven, from Adelaide, said it was a mixed bag of results.

“The Aussies had a few wins and draws, with the Tonga Navy also winning a few matches,” Leading Seaman Ruthven said.

“Sport brings everyone together for a bit of fun, friendly competition and banter and everyone enjoyed it.

“Tonga is beautiful - there are great oceans and snorkelling and friendly people with that strong island vibe.”

Able Seaman Cryptologic Systems Operator Jamie Forman, also from Adelaide, said he enjoyed the morning of sport and time spent ashore during the port visit.

“I’m loving Tonga - it has beautiful views and the people are really friendly,” Able Seaman Forman said.

“We’ve had the opportunity to see some of the beautiful beaches and enjoy the good weather.

Adelaide was alongside in Nuku’alofa for about five days.

Australian Defence Force personnel conducted a number of military training and engagement activities during the visit.

The ADF has an ongoing presence in the Pacific as part of Australia’s Pacific Step-up and enduring Defence Cooperation Program.

Tonga and Australia have a strong relationship based on shared ideologies of security, peace and prosperity for all nations in the Pacific.