Football ignites childhood passions

HMAS Canberra player Able Seaman Marine Technician Blake Simpkins offloads the ball during a match against the ACT Vets at Kapyong Oval, Canberra. Photo: Petty Officer Lee-Anne Cooper

Football ignites childhood passions

Lacing up football boots and donning a team jersey invigorated the soul and set free childlike joy that is the heart of rugby union.

Adhering to the golden oldie rules, HMAS Canberra and the ACT Vets came together last month to play a charity match on Kapyong Oval at the Royal Military College.

For more than 15 years, the match score has been recorded 9-9 in good spirit and sportsmanship. 

ACT Vets player Bruce Henry said the match was simply about the love of the game.

“I know it is stupid when you are 62, but it’s fun and you do it anyway,” Mr Henry said.

Canberra player Leading Seaman Marine Technician Dylan Riebe could not believe it when he arrived with his ship mates and realised the Vets brought some star power. 

“I played full back and my opposing number was former Wallaby Benny Alexander,” Leading Seaman Riebe said.

“I got a few breaks and even managed to tackle him a few times.

“Some of the boys out there were above 55, it’s great to see all of them tuck in and have a go.”

Whether it is a game of kick-to-kick on the flight deck or playing a local team when you pull into port, sport is always a welcome activity even if only for a short moment.

Commanding Officer Canberra Captain Terry Morrison said the visit was part of the ships’ community engagement program. 

“The crew raised $4000 for the Heart Foundation, which was donated at the end of the game,” Captain Morrison said.  

“We are in a maintenance period at the moment and have the crew out doing sport, adventure training, taking leave and courses.

“We are resetting our people and that is one of my key focuses.”

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