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April 6, 2017
UNIT rivalry was rife at the
7 Bde cross country in February
with 8/9RAR winning the overall
championship ahead of 6RAR.
More than 2000 soldiers took
part in the new 7km course with
the race open to the whole of
The top individual honour
went to Pte Timacoy Williams, of
6RAR, who crossed the line first in
28.32 minutes, while 2GHB’s Pte
Mary Yakuac came from behind to
win the female open event.
She said her pacing was key to
“I was in third and there was a
girl right next to me and we kept
switching for third and fourth,”
Pte Yakuac said.
“Then just at the end, at the last
1km, I just had to switch it on and
I caught up.
“It was surprising because my
unit doesn’t usually do the cross-
Cpl Mark Doran
IN A huge step forward for Defence
sport, the first ADF women’s rugby
league squad played their inaugural
match in Ipswich, Queensland, on
In the lead-up to the game a three-day
clinic teaching the fundamentals of rugby
league was held in Brisbane followed
by two weeks of training with assistance
from the NRL.
Guests at the training sessions includ-
ed Heather Ballinger, a Jillaroos player,
and former NRL players Darren Lockyer
and Kevin Campion.
The fledgling squad of 22 played
against the Brothers Junior Ipswich
women’s team in a curtain raiser for the
Intrust Super Cup game between the
Ipswich Jets and the Townsville Black
Despite losing, the ADF squad came
out of the break at 28-0 to hold Brothers
Team captain LCpl Ali Cranston, of
2CHC, said the squad trained twice-a-
day to practise their basic ball skills and
set plays to prepare for the match.
“As we progressed our preparation
became more in-depth and concentrated
on rugby league tactics during the ses-
sions,” she said.
“Considering the amount of time we
had together and who could be released
for training before our first game, our
team was amazing.
“We put everything we learnt during
our training into practice.
“It was fantastic to get out on the field
as a team and the girls never dropped
their heads or lost their spirit.
“I actually expected Brothers’ score
to be higher – they had three Jillaroos on
Army players of note include Erin
Buckingham, of 145 Sqn, who has joined
the St George Illawarra Dragons, and Pte
Talesha Quinn, of 6 Bde, who plays for
the Cronulla Sharks.
Former NRL player and coach Chris
Anderson coached the squad with Cpl
Cory Lahz, of 25/49RQR, and Cpl
Darren Joseph, of 1CER, who will
become the head coach for the next train-
ing camp in July.
LCpl Cranston said it was an awe-
some experience to be the first captain
and represent the ADF in the first wom-
en’s rugby league side.
“A few women with a rugby union
background even came across to give
league a go,” she said.
“We are still scouting as we hope to
encourage more Defence women to be
part of rugby league and build up the
squad with more players.”
The team’s main aim now is getting
back to camp in early July to prepare for
the Festival of World Cups in Sydney and
playing the NZ women’s Defence team.
Unit rivalry at brigade cross-country
7 Bde soldiers at the start of the
cross-country, which 8/9RAR won.
Photo: Capt Anna-Lise Rosendahl
Toughing it out
Cpl Mark Doran
ELITE triathlete and RSM of
8CSSB, WO1 Megan Webber, was
the first military woman to cross
the line in Ironman New Zealand
at Taupo on March 4.
The race was also the Asia-
Pacific military division qualifying
event open to full-time members of
military forces around the world.
WO1 Webber joined the offi-
cial team of 16 ADF Triathlon Club
athletes to compete against military
rivals from other nations.
Army won five of the 10
slots available in the World
Championship in October at Kona,
Hawaii. Two were Air Force and one
was Navy. The remaining slots went
to entrants from NZ and France.
Following perfect weather in the
lead-up to the race, strong winds
came across Lake Taupo making it a
rough 3.8km swim, forcing 35 com-
petitors to withdraw.
The wind continued to hamper
competitors on the 180km bike leg,
with athletes reporting it was the
most difficult conditions they had
raced in and facing a 42.2km mara-
thon seemed like a bridge too far.
WO1 Webber completed the gru-
elling race in 11hr 50min 10sec and
said it was a brutal event.
“My times were a lot slower than
I expected. It was an extremely hard
day,” she said.
“At the end of the day my time
was irrelevant. I’m very happy to
qualify for Kona for the third year
in a row.
“My goal now is to race at my
best to improve on my previous
times at Kona.”
WO1 Webber won the female
military division in 2015 and last
year she place third.
She said the commitment to her
triathlon training schedule meant she
needed to start early.
“It was even more difficult this
year because I work in a reserve unit
with a lot of weekend work,” she
“In the lead-up to an ironman, I
generally train twice a day for a total
of about 25 hours each week.
“It works out to be about 13
hours on the bike, eight hours of
running and four in the pool.”
WO1 Webber said the camarade-
rie in the ADF Triathlon Club was
“It’s always great to race with,
and against, our mates,” she said.
“We can go through good and
bad patches, because it is such
a long race, but the training and
the competitions help to build our
The other Army qualifiers for
Kona were Cpl Sharon Gunton, of
Soldiers on the road to Kona Ironman
12/40RTR, Lt-Col Paul McKay,
of HQ Forcomd, Capt Dominic
Lopez, of HQJOC and WO2 Luke
Woodland, of APAC Sydney.
Although a newcomer to the
sport, the first Australian soldier to
finish was Capt Lopez, with a time
He placed first in his military
Capt Lopez said the wind howled
across Lake Taupo turning it into a
“The swim leg was terrifying
for someone who doesn’t really like
swimming, so I was happy to get
out of the water and get on the bike,
even if it was to face a gruelling
head-wind,” he said.
“I started the race with a time I
wanted to achieve, but it quickly fell
by the wayside.
“The only good thing about the
day was crossing the finish line –
and being told I was an ironman.
“I was excited to learn I qualified
for Kona. It’s daunting and there are
a lot of miles to cover as I train for
Capt Lopez said his training regi-
men included one or two sessions
before or after work each day while
juggling his university studies.
“I need to concentrate on my
swimming because it is my weakest
leg, but I swim up to 10km, cycle
500km and run about 70km each
week,” he said.
“There’s no easy way to com-
plete an ironman, so nutrition is
always on my mind during the race
because the effects of fatigue and
dehydration can easily catch up.
“We train to eat and drink so it
becomes a habit.”
Capt Lopez said he competed in
his first ironman last year.
“I had no intention of doing
another,” he said.
“Now, I’m hooked on the sport.”
The ADF Triathlon Club enters a range
of triathlon events at different loca-
tions throughout the year. Details can
be found on their SharePoint page at
WO1 Megan Webber
crosses the finish
line of the Ironman
New Zealand and,
inset, Capt Dominic
Lopez in action on
the bike leg.
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