Open men team - Standing -Johnny Ryan (t-shirt, far left), Garner Gulliver (4th from left), Aaron Meek (5th from left), Leigh Foster (second from right), Adrian Grey (kneeling with ball)
Gully in action.
TOUCH IN AUSTRALIA
FGOFF LEIGH FOSTER
On 18 November 2005 the NZDF touch sides congregated at Auckland Airport bound for what became a very enjoyable tour to Australia to compete in the ADFTA (Australian Defence Force Touch Association) Championship at RAAF Edinburgh, Adelaide. The NZDF took an Open men’s and an over-thirty (OT) men’s team.
The Open men’s squad consisted of 16 men of which the Air Force were very well represented by five people – FLTLT Adrian Grey, FGOFF Leigh Foster, SGT Garner Gulliver, CPL Aaron Meek and CPL Johnny Ryan with Gully the coach and Adrian the Captain. As well as these individuals Air had two men in the ‘old dogs’ team – F/SGT Guy Lipsham and SGT Destry Tumataiki.
We arrived in Adelaide with all our gear and slipped straight into our training routine. Arriving Friday with the first game on Monday meant we had a few days to work on our cohe- sion and combinations.
After a very ‘tough’ training weekend we were all set to take on the Aussie defence state teams
Southern states/South Queensland (SS/SQ),
Northern Territory (NT), North Queensland (NQ) 1 and 2, ACT/NSW Country and NSW.
We started the comp a little rusty eventually defeating ACT/NSW Country (a team that beat the Air Force one year prior) 3-2. We continued on our winning way by dispatching NT and NQ 2 later that day with temperatures soaring to 34 degrees C.
We were reasonably happy with three wins from three but our combinations and patterns were still a little ineffective. The next morning we woke up pretty sore and were facing last year’s champs NQ 1. They scored first up after some in-decision but we then produced a very comprehensive performance demolishing them 7-1. We then cleaned up SS/SQ 7-1 in a very one-sided affair.
Thursday came and we only had one game, as we weren’t allowed to compete in the finals. We did ourselves no favours beating NSW 6-3 in a bit of a messy game by us.
During the three days the ‘old dogs’ never even looked like losing, convincingly beating team
after team with no team even getting close. It seems you can teach old dogs new tricks!
Friday was the big day where we were to play the ‘test’ match against the ADF in both divisions. As we walked out of the sheds we noticed a very dry, hot wind with the temperature estimated at around 40 degrees C.
The open men started strongly with a very intimidating haka and two quick tries but the Aussie’s never-say-die attitude helped them fight back running out eventual winners 5-3.
The over-thirty’s also started strongly but were pegged back by the enthusiastic Aussies. The NZDF ’old dogs’ eventually contained their opposition and were victorious 3-2.
All games were played in great spirit and with a very high degree of sportsmanship. Both sides were extremely competitive and all individuals that toured had a tremendous time, playing some great touch and meeting a lot of new people.
A big thanks to SGT Terry Miritana and SGT Gulliver for their efforts in organising the tour and ensuring it was a great success.
The old dog’s fearsome haka - Guy Lipsham (first Adrian Grey (lips’s right shoulder), Destry Tumata
on right in Uniform, Tattoo on right shoulder), iki (in front of Adrian), Leigh Foster.
AFN67 FEBRUARY 06