ADF Rugby League and ADF Netball recently joined forces with the National Rugby League (NRL) and Netball Australia for a five-day virtual training program for sports officials in Tonga.
CAPTION: Tongan participants Vaopako Pongi, left, and Lolomanoia Tuifua enjoy a practical session for rugby league coaches, including game-day drills. Story by Alex DeValentin.
It was the first virtual training program delivered to multiple sporting codes in the Pacific under the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s ‘Team Up’ initiative.
The program included accredited training for match officials and support staff such as coaches, referees, sports trainers, as well as strength and conditioning training for players.
Each training activity provided practical and theoretical aspects of skills development in officiating and support roles, as well as game strategies, nutrition, lifestyle advice and game-day preparation for players.
The training was run out of Davina House Nuku’alofa, with instructors, including Defence physical training instructors, participating virtually from Townsville, Melbourne and Sydney.
ADF Rugby League president Brigadier Dave Hafner said ADF sports was pleased to partner with the NRL, Netball Australia and Sports Medicine Australia to deliver programs focused on the fundamentals of sport and healthy lifestyles.
“Sport is a universal language and plays a unique role in showcasing Australia’s identity, values and culture,” Brigadier Hafner said.
“The values of sport – competition, teamwork and fair play – help build trust between countries and bring people together.”
The virtual program is the third in a series being run in the Pacific following on from highly successful virtual camps in Papua New Guinea in November 2020 and Fiji in March 2021.
ADF Rugby League Pacific program manager Group Captain Jay Clarke said there were benefits for everyone involved in the virtual program.
“These programs provide an opportunity to engage through facilitated training and build capacity in officiating and support roles, which are in high demand in the Pacific,” Group Captain Clarke said.
“The virtual programs have been a highly successful part of Defence’s enhanced regional engagement activities in the Pacific and our ongoing commitment to the region.
“It was an extremely rewarding experience to work with our Pacific partners and assist with developing our regional sporting community.”