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June 23, 2011
If you have it handy, play the theme
music from Mission Impossible now.
WOFF Andrew Giacomo
plans to send an email
out to about two dozen
past players in October
telling them the team of veteran touch
footballers, who call themselves the
Xmen, will be getting back together
Their mission -- should they
choose to accept it -- will be to help
raise $23,200 more for the National
Breast Cancer Foundation (
the 2012 Masters Games in
At the previous two
Masters Games, in 2008 an
2010, the Xmen, resplend-
ent in their pink, yellow
and blue uniforms, not only
won gold, silver and bronze
medals but they also raised
$76,872.20 for the NBCF --
and $23,200 will take them
over the $100,000 figure
that goes to breast cancer
Most of the Xmen come
from RAAF Base Darwin and anyone
from up that way might have run into
them on the fundraising trail.
For eight months before last year's
Masters Games, these wig-wearing,
water pistol-toting players raised
$20,000 at events in and around
You name it -- markets, shows,
rodeos, even along the nightlife strip
on Mitchell Street -- and they were
there, selling ribbons, badges, lip
gloss and other NBCF merchandise.
"The wigs and water pistols are
part of our look," WOFF Giacomo
said. He said the water provided a
bit of relief from the Top End heat
and the wigs went with the colourful
costumes. More than that, if a player
turned up for a game or fundraising
event without his wig, not wearing
something pink or not packing a
water pistol, he was fined $20.
But if you think that's tough, con-
sider this. If an Xman fails to raise
$150 on a fundraising day, he is not
allowed to have a beer. In that heat!
Despite all that well-drilled dis-
cipline, the assignment for next year
looks especially difficult.
The two main organisers in
past years have been WOFF Blake
Cameron and WOFF Giacomo. But
WOFF Cameron left the Air Force last
year and WOFF Giacomo posted out
to Moorebank in Sydney.
"It's going to be very tricky to
organise," WOFF Giacomo said.
"But I have a couple of Xmen in
Darwin and Tindal who can do a bit of
the running around for me.
"And Blake is still in Darwin so
he will be able to put the final parts
of the sponsorship together and
organise the start of the fundraising
WOFF Giacomo points out that
breast cancer affects one in nine
Australian women in their lifetime
and 109 men each year.
"Fundraising has its emotional
highs and lows. You have people tell
you of their heartache of losing loved
ones but you also hear of the success
of people who have survived this hor-
rible disease," he said.
"We started counting how many
survivors we met late in the 2010 cam-
paign as we were overwhelmed by the
number of people who had survived."
The tally came to 27 female and
six male survivors, which thrilled
"We feel positive that our small
team contribution is helping."
If you still have the Mission Impos-
sible music handy, play it again,
because there's another part to this
WOFF Giacomo this year
became coach of the Air
Force women's Australian
His charges, terribly short of play-
er numbers, failed to make much of a
dent at the ADF titles in Melbourne.
In fact, they didn't kick a goal in two
But WOFF Giacomo did what few
other coaches have attempted -- not
Mick Malthouse, Kevin Sheedy or
Bomber Thomson; nor probably even
the Army and Navy coaches. He went
to the games armed with his $88 digital
camera and took photo requests from
Before games. After games. At func-
tions. Team photos. And individual pho-
tos that told a story. "I want to catch
memories of the moment."
If things go to plan, he will have
lots of happy photos next year.
He is impressed with the quality
and camaraderie of the women's team
and wants to get together a good pool
of players. If he can do that, he said
anything was possible.
"My aim is to get the women's
football team well supported both on
and off the field with the goal of tak-
ing out the championship for the first
time next year," he said.
For more information, contact WOFF
Giacomo at andrew.giacomo@defence.
Man with a focus
XMEN ON A
left, WOFF Blake
Gary Sadler at the
at the Masters
October. Inset: on
the fundraising trail,
CPL Stu Birkin,
Carulli, SGT Kev
Giacomo (in the
COACH S CAMERA: Right, WOFF Andrew Giacomo
captures the jubilation of the Air Force women's
Australian football team-members after their last
game at the tri-service carnival. From left -- back:
FLGOFF Kylie Wilson, Natalie Miller, FLTLT Claire
Hill, OFFCDT Bayleigh Potter, FLTLT Sarah Scott,
FLGOFF Liz Buffet, SGT Katie Staines (captain),
FLGOFF Jess van Vogelpoel, LACW Emily Currer,
Radmila Pantelic, LACW Trudi Lines, FLGOFF Lauren
Darcy and SGT Peter Austin. Front: SQNLDR Mina
Roberts, FLGOFF Aimee Slocombe, FLTLT Debbie
Herberz and FLGOFF Victoria Pearson.
Debbie Herberz, left
and right, was worse
for wear after playing
against Navy. "The
photo was taken at
Deb's request as she
could not see her lip but
was quite sore. I took
a pic so she could see
what she had done,"
says WOFF Andrew
Right, the players
get ready to file
out to play Army.
Sarah Scott facing
and FLTLT Claire
Hill standing on
MERA: Right WOFF
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