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Army March 29, 2012
Maj Al Lynch
JUST a fortnight after taking out the
Matthew Locke memorial shield in
Bellingen, Army Thunder showed its
might to regain the title of Combined
Australian Services Rugby League
(CASRL) champions by convinc-
ingly beating both the Air Force and
The interservice tournament was
held at Port Stephens, NSW, with Army
facing Air Force on March 14 after the
Air Force team had annihilated Navy
50-6 in the first game of the tourna-
ment on March 11.
A confident Air Force team struck
early with a try after Cfn Aaron Resch,
of 6 Avn Regt, was injured in the first
tackle of the game, leaving Thunder
with one less player available and
requiring a reshuffling of positions.
Army quickly regained its compo-
sure and hit back through a try by Sgt
Jason Brand, School of Inf. This set
the pattern for the game and Air Force
looked to have the game in hand before
Thunder kicked away towards the end
to win 34-16.
New Thunder coach Sgt Matt Percy,
of 1RTB, said the win was a result of
the hard work of his forward pack.
"Our forwards really stood up and
provided the impetus for today's win.
"While it took a bit for the team to
execute the new game plan, the forward
momentum was seized upon by the
backs, and through some enterprising
play, the guys were able to put on the
A number of players were stand-
outs for the Thunder, with Sgt Danny
Tavita, of 4 Regt, and Cfn Mick
Cunningham, of 10FSB, leading the
way up front and Pte Mahn Darley, of
3RAR, and Cfn Ross Hunter, of 6 Avn
Regt, tearing it up out wide.
The final game in the series was
between Army and Navy on March 16.
While many considered the match
a dead rubber, it was not a game the
Thunder was going to take lightly,
especially with the memory of last
year's match etched firmly in the minds
of the Army players. Last year Navy
was able to claw its way back into the
match, which it eventually won 38-36,
giving it the title.
Right from the kick off Army
showed the determination that was
needed to clinch the championship.
Once again the forwards dominated
and showed no quarter in their quest
to stamp their authority over Navy.
Despite incurring a number of inju-
ries, Army was able to dominate to win
"I am really pleased the team did
not take the game lightly," Sgt Percy
said.He was particularly happy with the
form of Tpr Jack Blaine, of 2/14LHR,
and CASRL player of the tournament
Gnr Jarrod Bassett, of 4 Regt.
"Gnr Bassett was forever dangerous
out of dummy half and coupled with
Sgt Clancy Fallon's destructive run-
ning out on the edges, caused the Navy
defence no end of headaches."
Nine Army players then took to the
field in the Combined Services team to
play the Port Stephens Sharks. Team
captain Sgt Fallon, of 5 Avn Regt, Sgt
Tavita, Sgt Zane Mitchell, of 6 Avn
Regt, Cfn Ross Hunter, of 6 Avn Regt,
Cfn Cunningham, Gnr Bassett, Tpr
Blaine, Pte Darley and Sgt Brand,
under the coaching reins of WO2 Brian
Jones, of School of Inf, joined players
from Air Force and Navy to come so
close to an upset.
CASRL started off well and were
leading 14-4 after the first 20 min-
utes. However, after the combat the
CASRL had endured over the past
week, fatigue started to take its toll.
The Sharks got in front just before
half-time with the score at 22-14.
The ADF struck back with two tries
in the final term to come within four
points of the Sharks but a late try by
the Sharks resulted in a 34-24 win to
the home side.
"The CASRL side showed great
skill and tenacity for a side that had
never played together and only come
together on the day before the game,"
WO2 Jones said.
"CASRL coaching staff were
impressed by the skill and camaraderie
shown, which all bodes well for future
endeavours and the lead up to next
year's Defence World Cup in the UK.
"However, in the end fatigue and
injuries hampered the ADF boys from
getting a win, and they eventually went
Thunder strikes back
Army wrestles Australian Combined Services Rugby League title back from Navy
Full steam ahead: Sgt Clancy Fallon, of 5 Avn Regt, surges towards the tryline during the Thunder's match
against RAAF in the Combined Armed Services Rugby League Championships held at Port Stephens. Army
beat RAAF 34-16 and Navy 38-6.
Photo by Sgt Ricky Fuller
Cpl Melanie Schinkel
UNFAVOURABLE weather con-
ditions didn't haze the sights of
Maj Peter Simmons, of 8CSSB, or
WO1 Darren Parsons, of 6ESR,
at the Australasian Police and
Services National Trap and Skeet
Championships held from February
The Army sharp shooters were
part of a team of nine ADF and
APS personnel who represented the
Defence Clay Target Association
(DCTA) in the five-day event held
near Christchurch in New Zealand.
More than 115 shooters from
Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and
DCTA's members were divided
into three teams for the first skeet
and down the line shooting events,
which were followed by individual
down the line events and a 50-target
sporting clays shoot on the final day.
The first challenge was the
50-target skeet event in which Maj
Simmons annihilated 46 targets while
WO1 Parsons took out second place
in the 50-target single barrel event.
"I'm happy with my achieve-
ments but placing second after a
shoot off in the single barrel A grade
event just goes to show that I need
more practice," WO1 Parsons said.
"It all really comes down to prac-
tice -- once you know the basics and
have a gun that fits, you're set."
Maj Simmons said the skeet team
of Brent Murphy, George Bailey and
CPO Chris Nightingale placed sec-
ond after losing by just one target to
the New Zealand Police Force.
"It was a great trip and the team
did extremely well considering the
adverse weather, which made it very
difficult to shoot consistent scores,"
Maj Simmons said.
"Highlights for me include
George Bailey winning the overall
handicap event, the trap team win-
ning the team event and the skeet
team placing second in the team
event against the NZ Police."
Maj Simmons was also part of the
down the line team that, for its third
consecutive year, won first place for
the double barrel team event.
The shooters are now preparing
for the skeet nationals in Wagga
Wagga in May.
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