Last Saturday night, representatives from the New Souths Wales Physically Disabled Rugby League Association (NSWPDRLA) played a demonstration game at ANZ Stadium in front of over 14,000 football fans.
Played prior to the Round 20 NRL clash between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Newcastle Knights, the game was an opportunity to showcase the competition and dedication of the players.
Founder of the competition and current Rabbitohs team captain, George Tonna, said that the demo game was important for the NSWPDRLA.
“Growing our brand is vital for the competition and will assist us in recruiting new players who were possibly unaware of our competition prior to last Saturday night,” said George.
Souths Cares General Manager, Brock Schaefer, said Souths Cares hope that demonstration games will provide the right exposure for the sport and will ultimately see more people with physical disabilities living healthier and more active lives.
“Having people with disabilities involved in our game on a regular basis can only enrich what is already a whole of community sport,” said Brock.
“Souths Cares has a lot of involvement with the NSWPDRLA and it is a fun partnership. Seeing the boys take the field on Saturday night was awe-inspiring.”
George said that playing in front of such a large crowd is something he will remember for a long time to come.
“Playing at ANZ was amazing and having the crowd behind both teams was a highlight for me,” said George.
“We’re just a group of disabled people having a go in one of the toughest sports in the world.
“No matter the score, all the players had a blast and the NSWPDRLA want to sincerely thank Souths Cares and the South Sydney Rabbitohs for making the demo possible.
“They also made it possible for our supporters to be present, which is important to the team’s morale.
“We are now in the process of expanding, with some new teams and players to come on board for the 2016 season.
“Currently, we have four teams competing across a nine round competition, with the Rabbitohs, Jets, Manly and the Roosters all involved.
“We also have an All Stars game and an exciting City vs Country concept,” George said.
For those wishing to learn more about the NSWPDRLA competition as a player or volunteer should contact George direct: 0402 773 045.