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Games people play
The annual Arafura sports festival has come and gone, with Air Force members a key part of the ADF team’s highs and lows during a week of intense competition.

ADF strength goes to water
Queensland pair almost win gold on the beach
Determination and sportsmanship
Basketball's finals charge falls short
Courageous volleyballers stir the crowd

Bias towards gold

By Andrew Stackpool

The victorious ADF lawn bowls fours team of SQNLDR Damien Kroek, SGT John Hicking, CPL Brenton Attwood and CPL Pedro Petersen celebrate their gold medal after the presentation ceremony.

The victorious ADF lawn bowls fours team of SQNLDR Damien Kroek, SGT John Hicking, CPL Brenton Attwood and CPL Pedro Petersen celebrate their gold medal after the presentation ceremony.

Photo provided by
ADF lawn bowls team


The ADF team:
Singles PTE Dennis Roff
Pairs CPO Wade Vidulich, AB Darren Berich
Fours SQNLDR Damien Kroek, RAAF Base Williamtown (team captain and ADF player of the series)SGT John Hicking, Defence FyshwickCPL Brenton Attwood, RAAF Base EdinburghCPL Pedro Petersen, RAAF Base Amberley

AIR Force lawn bowlers scooped the pool at the Arafura Games. They struck gold in the men’s four teams event and then joined up with their other Service colleagues to take the bronze in the team’s event.

The competition comprised 10 sides, including the Commonwealth Games representative side from Malaysia and three other international teams from Brunei and New Zealand.

They competed in a round robin format. Points and aggregate decided the medal positions.

Team manager Major Peter O’Gorman said although the fours were undefeated, they did not have things all their own way.

Draws with Ballina and New Zealand’s Taitokerau team kept them aware of their vulnerability, even though they won the gold. Ballina and Australian Country won the silver and bronze.

“Throughout the tournament, each of the individual positions was called upon to provide that little bit of extra skill required to resurrect a game that was slipping away,” MAJ O’Gorman said.

“The finest exponent of this was Squadron Leader [Damien] Kroek, followed closely by Sergeant [John] Hicking.”

The pairs enjoyed a mixed bag of results, with three wins and creditable performances in their close losses. They went down to Ballina and eventual gold medal winners Malaysia in the last moments of both games, with Northern Territory in for the bronze.

A combination of the good performances by the non-medal contenders in their individual events and the successful fours side was enough to give the ADF team the bronze medal for the overall team’s event.

“The addition of this medal to the Australian Services Bowls Association’s trophy cabinet has made this the most successful result from the Arafura Games to date,” he said.


ADF strength goes to water

By Andrew Stackpool

Pte Philippe Wolanski takes aim during his water polo game.

Pte Philippe Wolanski takes aim during his water polo game.

Photo by LAC Allan Cooper

THE strength of the ADF water polo teams was not reflected in their performance at the Arafura Games, according to team manager Captain Scott Davis.

CAPT Davis said the men’s team started well, with a draw against Victoria and a narrow loss to Queensland.

“We had good play and were strong in defence, but failed to capitalise in attack,” he said. “We rarely managed to put the ball into the back of the net.”

With expected losses to Western Australia and NSW, the team maintained its good defence and kept the goal deficit down to a reasonable level. But poor play resulted in a shock loss to the Northern Territory (NT) team, effectively knocking ADF out of medal contention. In the final playoff, ADF once again lost to NT.

The women’s team was under-strength and without a specialist goalie. Apart from a nil-all draw against New South Wales it lost all games.

“They struggled against the state sides, but enjoyed better results against the Northern Territory and Singapore,” he said.

The women played the NT and Singapore again in the finals, but were unsuccessful.

“The improvement in their game play was quite noticeable. With such a young team, there is great potential for future tournaments,” he said. “The Arafura Games has been a great finish to the 2004/2005 season.”


Queensland pair almost win gold on the beach

By Andrew Stackpool

SQNLDR Vicky Campbell in action during her beach volleyball game against Western Australia.

SQNLDR Vicky Campbell in action during her beach volleyball game against Western Australia.

Photos by LAC Allan Cooper

The tyranny of distance, no experience as a team and plenty of hours on court eventually caught up with Squadron Leader Vicky Campbell and Army Corporal Agnieszka Dajski.

But the result was still worth the effort – they won silver in women’s beach volleyball at the Arafura Games, held in Darwin from May 14-21, losing to Thailand 0-2 in the final.

The pair had a mixed bag in the six preliminary rounds, beating all comers except the Thais, who beat them twice, coincidentally 2-0 in each heat.

SQNLDR Campbell, from RAAF Base Amberley, said she and CPL Dajski, from Jezzine Barracks in Townsville, were kept busy during the Games.

“Nish and I played indoor and beach [volleyball] at the Games. On the Wednesday [May 18], we went from floor to sand and back again; four games over a two-hour period,” she said.

“This was the first time the ADF had fielded a beach volleyball team. We won the combined Services beach tournament last year to make selection for Arafura. We went through the entire round and the finals undefeated.

“In the [Arafura] finals, Thailand had already beaten us in the rounds in both games, although the second time we played them we had led the first set to 16 points.

“The Thai girls were young, athletic and strong, accurate hitters. We needed to play a very tactical game to be in the running.

“This worked most times, although our own passing game let us down and we were unable to muster a strong attack in return due to fatigue.

“In the end we were beaten by a better team who play together all the time and have a well drilled game with strong personal discipline.”

SQNLDR Campbell said the games were played in a great location with excellent facilities.

“The atmosphere between players and officials was very friendly,” she said.

“I was delighted by the strong support we got from the whole ADF contingent.”



Determination and sportmanship

By Andrew Stackpool

SGT Clinton Field in action during his beach volleyball game vs Northern Territory.

SGT Clinton Field in action during his beach volleyball game vs Northern Territory.

BEACH volleyball produced one of its more unusual competitions in the Arafura Games when only Northern Territory (NT) and ADF produced teams for the men’s event.

ADF coach Warrant Officer Second Class Ian Baker said the ADF Volleyball Association originally planned to field only one team, but several international teams weren’t able to obtain entry visas in time.

With the prospect of only two teams from the NT and one from the ADF, the ADFVA agreed to field a second team to ensure the competition remained viable.

Which was why two ADF teams found themselves facing off against each other in the final rounds, while the two NT teams did likewise.

The primary team comprised Sergeant Clint Field and Corporal Tony Birthisel, the second, WO2 Baker and Leading Aircraftman Dan Johnson from RAAF Base Williamtown.

WO2 Baker said despite their lack of training opportunities before assembling in Darwin, the rate of improvement in the teams was exceptional.

“It is noteworthy that the two NT teams had been training since the start of the year for this competition,” he said.

The ADF second team showed that it was very competitive, but lacked experience to challenge for a medal place, while the primary team demonstrated that they had a definite chance at the gold as long as they played to their potential.

“The teams played very well throughout the competition and continued to improve with every match,” WO2 Baker said.

“However, an inspired match by the NT2 team against the ADF1 team in the final preliminary match snatched away its chance at the gold.

“During its final preliminary match, ADF2 was playing against NT1 and was leading when I tore a groin muscle.

“We had to forfeit to NT1 and this meant the Bronze medal play-off would be between both the ADF teams. Because of my injury, we couldn’t play and ADF1 went through for the bronze.”

The final result was NT1 gold, NT2 silver and ADF1 bronze.

WO2 Baker said the availability of players for volleyball competitions would always be a restricting factor. The teams representing the ADF were not the first or second selected teams from the previous ADFVA National Championships, however, they did compete at the competition standard.

“Our teams displayed the sportsmanship and determination expected of teams competing at higher levels throughout the competition,” he said.



Basketball's finals charge falls short

By FLGOFF Fiona Harris

PTE Jarrod Entwistle in action during the semi-final against the NT.

PTE Jarrod Entwistle in action during the semi-final against the NT.

Photo by LAC Allan Cooper

But for a controversial foul, the ADF’s men’s basketball team could have taken gold in the Arafura Games.

In their second semi final, which saw the winner advance to the gold medal grand final, the ADF team fell victim to the Northern Territory (NT) by one point and had to settle for bronze in the games.

The loss came as a bitter disappointment to the team who had won six games in a row, beaten every team in the competition, and were favorites to take gold.

Coach WOFF Michael Kearney said the team had gelled well in the week of training leading up to the games and carried that over on to the floor in the preliminary rounds.

“The guys had a great attitude and bonded well on and off the court. We had great team defence, which grew each game as the guys got used to playing together,” he said.

In a game where the lead changed almost every time down the floor, home court advantage was the key to NT’s win, as the referees dished out 28 ADF fouls to NT’s 13 for the game.

With ADF ahead by one point with 25 seconds left in the game, NT brought the ball up the court and missed a jump shot, but Travis Ellis from NT came up with a scrappy rebound and scored to put NT ahead by one point with 3.6 seconds left on the clock.

The ball was in-bounded to ADF’s team captain CPL Aaron Marsh’s hands for the last shot of the game. After dribbling through smothering defence in an attempt to get the ball down the floor for a look at the basket, a controversial charge call was made as the final buzzer sounded and NT advanced to the grand final, only to lose to the US by 12 points.

The ADF women’s team had a disappointing start to the games, losing their first three games to Singapore, Torres Straight, and US (the eventual winner), but found form in the home straight, winning their final two games to finish fifth in the competition.

Team captain FLTLT Claire Ingham, who suited up with the ADF for the last time before moving to Portugal, said while she thought the team could have done better, they pulled together really well in the end.

“We had a great group of girls and guys here for this tournament, so it was a good tournament to leave on. I was happy that we were able to get a few good games under our belts in the end and leave on a pretty good note,” she said.


Courageous volleyballers stir the crowd

By Andrew Stackpool


The ADF Arafura Games Women’s Volleyball Team

MAJ Jenny Becker, Gallipoli Barracks

SQNLDR Vicky Campbell,RAAF Amberley
(Also playing beach volleyball in tandem)

CPL Lisa Roberts, Robertson Barracks

SGT Kim Crijns, Robertson Barracks

CPL Agnieszka Dajski,Jezzine Barracks
(Also playing beach volleyball in tandem)

FLTLT Julie Hackett, DP-AF

CAPT Erica Rogers,Victoria Barracks

CPL Marika Nilsson,Suakin Depot

SGT Tracey Dettmer, Randwick

CPO Tracy Bellerby, Larrakeyah Barracks

GOLD medals awarded for fighting spirit, determination and courage at the Arafura Games would have included the women’s volleyball team in their list.

“Unfortunately, we got the wooden spoon for our efforts, but the final score didn’t do justice to the women’s fighting spirit and narrow defeats against top international teams,” said Flight Lieutenant Julie Hackett from DPA-AF.

The ADF women’s volleyball team was up against six teams. They came from South Australia, the Northern Territory, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Macau and an American College Team.

The ADF won only one goal and lost all games in the seven preliminary matches of the Arafura games tournament. But they won the admiration of all for their never-say-die attitude.

“We weren’t at full strength and the team comprised mainly replacement players,” FLTLT Hackett said.

“But each player rose to the task at hand and, as a new team, developed skills and friendships over the course of the competition.

“The games brought out skills some players didn’t know they possessed. We had setters blocking, blockers passing and hitters changing angles mid-flight.

There was no single stand-out performance but there were plenty of great dives, desperate scrambles, long rallies and some convincingly won points.

“The team displayed the experience and well developed skills of the veteran players and this was matched with glimpses of brilliance from the newer players.

“Whether it was a player’s first Arafura Games or fifth, it was a humbling experience and one that brought out a great sense of pride in the opportunity to represent the Defence Force and ADF Volleyball, as well as the chance to compete at an international level.

“Of course, this would have gone unrewarded if it weren’t for the other ADF representatives who came along to cheer the team on.

“Special mention must go to the futsal boys, who managed to bring the fervour and atmosphere of a World Cup soccer match to the volleyball stage.”



Bias towards gold
ADF strength goes to water
Queensland pair almost win gold on the beach
Determination and sportsmanship
Basketball's finals charge falls short
Courageous volleyballers stir the crowd


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