More than a touch of camaraderie in carnival

One arm grasping the ball, the other pumping the air, a full-length run of the field was in play.

CAPTION: Corporal Jacob Cutmore passes the ball to Captain Charlotte Hargreaves during a game at the 2023 ACT NAIDOC Touch Football carnival on July 15. Story by Private Nicholas Marquis.

Reaching the try line with teammates in tow, high fives were given as ADF Touch continued their dream run.

With cheers of encouragement, the team was on cloud nine, going through the draw of the 2023 ACT Australian Public Service (APS) NAIDOC Touch Football carnival undefeated.

Their luck ran out in the grand final, going down 4-1 against Department of Defence APS team.

Held on July 5, as part of the ACT Government’s NAIDOC Week celebrations, 29 public service departments tore up the playing fields in Deakin.

Leading Aircraftswoman Caylee Wallis has been involved with ADF Touch Football since 2021 and said it was eye-opening to see how many other departments existed.

“It was pretty quick, back-to-back constantly with 12-minute halves and only two minutes’ break between games. It was a big day,” Leading Aircraftswoman Wallis said.

“It was a nice way to get ADF Touch involved, I hope we can do it again.”

She said though they were a couple of women short on the team, it made the interchanges constant, meaning less time on the sideline.

“I love getting on. There’s nothing worse than having to wait on the sub box, especially in the Canberra cold,” Leading Aircraftswoman Wallis said.

With each person on the team scoring at least one try throughout the day, the camaraderie was strong.

Having played touch for several years, Warrant Officer Class Two Stuart Stephens said the carnival was the first time he has represented the ADF.

He said that the team played well against strong competition on the day.

“Once we got to the grand final we just got beaten by a better team,” Warrant Officer Stephens said.

“It was a good opportunity to recognise NAIDOC Week and every game was played in high spirits.”


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