Soldiers and officers of the 5th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (5 RAR), and the Marine Rotational Force – Darwin (MRF-D) battled it out in a series of sporting events at the annual 5 RAR vs MRF-D Sports Day. 

This year’s event, on September 24, was amended to comply with COVID-19 safety restrictions.

Games of soccer, a tag version of American football, cricket, basketball, touch football and volleyball were played. 

Australians dominated touch football and cricket, while the Marines secured wins in American football and basketball.

Private Guy Falconer participated in a game of American football for the first time at the annual sports event.

“It was good playing against the Marines, they were great sports and even gave us a brief on how to play tag NFL [American football] before the game began,” Private Falconer said.

United States Marine Corps Captain Michael Terreri Officer Commanding India Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines Regiment led the MRF-D NFL team to victory.

“Today was a good opportunity to continue to develop interoperability, especially because of the limited opportunities presented in 2020,” Captain Terreri said.

“It was great to get out and grow our relationship with 5 RAR on the sporting field.”

The playing field was evened when the Tiger Battalion narrowly won the soccer and volleyball games.

Warrant Officer Class Two John Saunders said he had the tough task of refereeing the high-stakes volleyball match.

“It was a close game and it was good to see Australians and Americans enjoying some healthy competition on the court,” Warrant Officer Saunders said.

After the six non-contact sports were completed, the competition continued in a physical training challenge designed to identify the fitter of the two units in true military style.  

5 RAR and MRF-D put their fittest soldiers forward to compete in four challenge events –maximum cadence push-ups, a tyre flip relay, a 400m relay in body armour and training rifle, and the tug-of-war.

The soldiers and officers of MRF-D put in a valiant effort during the challenge, however, they were no match for 5 RAR who won all four challenge events on home ground.   

Despite their loss to 5 RAR, Commanding Officer 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Jason Goodale said the friendly competition only made the relationship between the sporting rivals stronger off the field.

“The sports day was a wonderful opportunity to build on what has already become a close relationship,” he said.

“Interoperability is an idea we live by on a daily basis and young Marines and Australian soldiers make it happen.”

The event concluded at 5 RAR’s social area, the Gary Holmes Club, where Commander 1st Brigade Brigadier Ash Collingburn presented the Sports Day trophy to 5 RAR, the winners of the day.