The New Zealand Physical Disability Rugby League team have come away with a silver medal after a hard fought 0-0 golden point match against Australia at the inaugural Commonwealth Championships in Queensland.
The first game against Australia on Friday night was a true Anzac battle, as two old foes of rugby league came together to represent their countries out on that field. The challenge laid down by the kiwi team with a very passionate haka led by Garry Kingi, set the tone for the next 18 minutes of footy.
The level of rugby league was phenomenal, their skill level lifting immediately under the pressure to do the best for their fellow teammates. There was no doubt the players left nothing in the tank
Although the final ended in a draw, Australia came away with the gold medal based on points differential. New Zealand went through the tournament conceding only one try.
PDRLNZ Captain Brad Vear said “This is a really big milestone in their lives because of the adversities they’ve faced in their lives whether it be through accident or born with a disability, it’s such a big deal to be here.”
The championships was one of the exhibition sports for the 2018 Commonwealth games with the physical disability tri-series making up one feature of the event.
PDRLNZ hope it will encourage more physically disabled athletes throughout NZ into the sport.
Greaves says “We want it to grow nationwide. We want our kaupapa to get out there so that people can see that what’s holding them back in themselves.”
“Our next goal is to recruit players for a local competition over winter in preparation for our inclusion at the Rugby League Emerging Nations Championships in October 2018 in Sydney,” he said.
NZPDRL would like to thank their sponsors especially NZRL, ARL, Sir Peter Leitch, Digital Island, First Sovereign, Lenco, Hilton Haulage, Parcel line express, DNI Electrical, Debtworks NZ, Straker Translations, YMCA, Graeme Williams, friends and family.
You can see the results from the tournament below.
Day one results:
NEW ZEALAND 4 (Usa Adams try) def COMMONWEALTH ALL STARS 0.
AUSTRALIA 8 (Mitchell Gleeson, Geoff Clarke tries) def COMMONWEALTH ALL STARS 0.
AUSTRALIA 4 (Mitchell Gleeson try) def COMMONWEALTH ALL STARS 0.
AUSTRALIA 6 (Kyle Lloyd tries; George Tonna goals) def NEW ZEALAND 0.
Day two results:
AUSTRALIA 0 drew with NEW ZEALAND 0.
COMMONWEALTH ALL STARS 0 drew with NEW ZEALAND 0.
Gold Medal match:
AUSTRALIA 0 drew with NEW ZEALAND 0 (Australia declared winners of championship).