PRIDE OF FLEET KEY PART OF EXERCISES
FRANCIS Molo has broken his silence over the fatal tackle on James Ackerman, claiming he didn’t deliberately shoulder charge his opponent and the collision was so powerful he “didn’t have the chance to wrap my arms around him”.
Molo was emotional while giving evidence on day three of an inquest into Ackerman’s death after a June 2015 Intrust Super Cup match.
“I wasn’t going in to shoulder charge,” he said.
“I was there to do my job and tackle hard.”
The Brisbane Coroner’s Court heard Molo, who had been playing for Norths Devils, was surprised at how straight Ackerman was running at him before the impact.
“I was a bit scared myself,” he said. “The collision was so big I didn’t have a chance to wrap my arms around him.”
While one of Ackerman’s Sunshine Coast Falcons teammates claimed this week that Molo’s arm was tucked into his hip and he’d turned side- on as he hit the forward, Molo said yesterday he was “front on”.
Molo, who last week joined the Townsville Blackhawks, said he did push the injured player a “little bit” as he lay on the ground as he didn’t realise how critical the situation was. The inquest continues.
KATE MCKENNA THE pride of Australia’s navy, HMAS Canberra, docked at Port of Townsville yesterday ahead of the largest joint military exercise involving our nation and the United States.
And for Lieutenant Rebecca Avila, Exercise Talisman Saber is not just the pinnacle of years of training – it’s also a chance to see her husband, parents and dog.
HMAS Canberra is the largest ship in the Royal Australian Navy. It is docked in Townsville to load troops and equipment and, for the first time, a tank. It is in town ahead of Exercise Talisman Saber 2017 this month, the principal training exercise of the Australian and United States military.
The exercise will focus on the planning and conduct of mid- intensity “high end” warfighting in the air, land and maritimei i domains. Lieut. Avila had previously been posted in Townsville for about two years and still calls the city home.
“During those two years I helped HMAS Canberra work up to the state she is in now so it’s awesome to be on board as a deputy logistics officer and support the exercise from the sea,” she said.
HMAS Canberra’s captain Ashley Papp said the most important part of the exercise was the people.
“The crew of the ship is about 450 people and we take about 900 troops on board, depending on what the mission is,” he said. “Our primary job is to go places and help people and do whatever it is our government wants us to do.
“I’ve got army, navy and air force as part of my crew.
“Something like this exercise, where we’re bringing those elements together in what is the best training area in the world, is a great opportunity.
“It’s a very sensitive envi- ronment and we’re very conscious of that.”
Capt Papp said the Navy had consulted with conservation and environmental stewards. At times, the Navy pauses it’s activities to allow whales to pass through undisturbed.
Commander of the Talisman Saber Amphibious Taskf force Captain Brett Sonter said h he was pleased to be back in T Townsville.
“For us, this really does mark the start of Exercise Talisman Saber 2017,” he said.
“For the next couple of days we’ll be loading a lot of the embark force that we intend to take ( on the exercise).
“They’re mostly comprised of your army elements that you see in the city of Townsville.”
Capt Sonter said the exercise represented a key milestone in the amphibious capability for Australia.
“My force will be 1600strong and it will build on the success we’ve had on our amphibious capability,” he said.