Navy’s new Landing Helicopter Dock ship, NUSHIP Canberra, formed its first rugby team for a charity rugby union match against the ACT Veterans Rugby Club this month.
Played in superb weather at RMC Rugby field, the match proved to be an entertaining spectacle to watch.
Local Canberra based company iCognition donated $2000 in celebration of the rugby match being played between Canberra and the ACT Veterans, with the money being shared equally between Paediatrics at the Canberra Hospital (PatCH) Foundation and the George Gregan Foundation.
Commanding Officer of NUSHIP Canberra, Captain Jonathan Sadleir AM said the game was played in support of very worthy causes.
This event was a great opportunity for our ship’s company to come together and field an official sporting team for the first time,” said Captain Sadleir.
“To provide an avenue for a local company to give so generously to these local charities which make such a difference to sick children and their families was an honour.
“The entire Canberra team of players and supporters had a great day and we were all impressed with the sportsmanship and spirit with which the game was played.
“I commend the ACT Veterans for putting on this game every year since 2005, and we are looking forward to continuing a long association with the ACT Veterans through this event,” said Captain Sadleir.
This charity event between the ACT Veterans and HMAS Canberra has been held annually since 200 - the year that HMAS Canberra (II) decommissioned. HMAS Darwin has carried on the tradition between the time of decommissioning Canberra (II) and the forming of NUSHIP Canberra.
Played in good fun, there are three halves of 20 minutes each and final scores are always levelled at nine all.
Founder and President of the ACT Veterans Rugby Club, Mr John Hillier, said he hoped the relationship formed between the Vets and NUSHIP Canberra would continue for the life of the ship and beyond.
“The spirit of the day was absolutely marvellous - the fact that young Canberra guys didn’t pummel us was terrific, and the predetermined score of nine all always makes the match interesting,” he said.
“We look forward to this relationship continuing for many years to come. We hope Canberra’s ship’s company had as much fun as we did and look forward to many years of playing against the ACT Veterans in the future.
“The Vets are inordinately proud to be part of the Navy’s biggest ship,” Mr Hillier said.
Deputy Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral Michael Van Balen, attended the match and presented the 76mm mounted shell trophies to each of the teams. The event also attracted family and friends from the Canberra community.
NUSHIP Canberra personnel were delighted with the presence of George Gregan who attended to receive the donation in person. The George Gregan Foundation works to raise money to build playgrounds in children's hospitals across Australia, and to train doctors who specialise in the treatment of children with epilepsy and other neurological conditions.
Dr Tim McDonald, General and Respiratory Paediatrician at the Canberra Hospital and former ACT Veterans rugby player attended to receive the donation with PatCH the Platypus, the official PatCH mascot. Dr McDonald is an avid rugby follower and stayed for the duration of the match to enjoy the sport.
The ACT Veterans enjoy a strong relationship with the ACT Brumbies and invited Brumbies Forwards Coach, Mr Laurie Fisher to the game who presented a signed 2013 ACT Brumbies Jersey to the Commanding Officer of NUSHIP Canberra. Captain Sadleir reciprocated by presenting a Canberra plaque to the Brumbies, one of the first plaques to be given from the ship.
Imagery is available on the Royal Australian Navy Media Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20131454.