South Sydney Rabbitohs Physical Disability team stars have shone for Australia on the opening day of the 2018 Physical Disability Championships.
Playing a three-game series against New Zealand as part of the Emerging Nations World Cup, Australia has taken a 1-0 lead over New Zealand after a gruelling opening encounter thanks to some help from the South Sydney contingent.
Rabbitohs captain Peter Mitchell, vice-captain Jono Smith, Daniel Frost and Rabbitohs World Club Challenge player George Tonna, played a huge part in Australia's come from behind win against the Kiwis.
Trailing for most of the game, the Australians rallied late to produce the victory, which Mitchell described as a "tough" game.
"It ended up 20-16 to Australia," said Mitchell.
"It was tough. The Kiwis came with a physical game plan but we managed to ride it out.
The hero of the day was Rabbitohs player Daniel Frost, who produced a memorable solo effort to help Australia snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
"We trailed most of the game up until about a minute to go," Mitchell explained.
"We took an intercept on our own 20 metre line and then it went out wide to 'Frosty', who is also with the Rabbitohs, and he scooted the length of the field to score under the posts and converted to make it 20-16 and we held on for the last 20 seconds after that."
The win puts Australia in the driver's seat to take home the series but Mitchell is hoping for a clean sweep.
"We tried a few things. Some worked and others didn't so I think we will continue to experiment," said Mitchell.
"Even though we are 1-0 up, we go out every game to win. We don't play to draw or a stalemate, we play to win and hopefully we can win 3-0."
The recent tri-series between Australia and New Zealand caps off what has been a fantastic year for Physical Disability Rugby League and especially the Rabbitohs team.
Following the 2018 Rugby League Commonwealth Championships, which featured six South Sydney players, the mighty Red and Green went on to win the domestic competition.
The amazing end of the season for Souths was followed by the inaugural World Club Challenge, between the boys from Redfern and the Warrington Wolves, who travelled over from England.
The incredible occasion at ANZ Stadium was a dream come true for all that were involved and for Mitchell it just epitomised the amazing growth the sport has seen in the last year.
"It was awesome that Warrington came out," Mitchell beamed.
"It was beyond my wildest dreams. They played 'Glory, glory to South Sydney' as I led the boys out and it was awe-inspiring.
"Eight, nine months ago, Warrington didn't even exist. Now that they've come over the game has gone over to England. We're growing into a stage where we can play our own brand of international football, which a year ago was just in the pipeline."