Physical Disability Rugby League NZ (PDRLNZ) is pleased to announce, former Warrior and New Zealand International, Kiwi #657 Tony Tatupu, has been appointed as PDRLNZ’s new ambassador.

Tony made his NRL debut against the Brisbane Broncos in 1995 as Warrior #12 and has represented both New Zealand and Samoa. Tony now serves as a New Zealand Police officer and represented the New Zealand Police at the inaugural Police World Cup 2008.

Tony’s appointment as PDRLNZ’s new ambassador comes at an exciting time for disability rugby league. The PDRLNZ South Pacific 9’s Challenge will see the Polynesia All Stars take on the Invitational All Stars as the curtain-raiser match for the Great Britain League Lions v Tonga test at Waikato’s FMG Stadium on October 26 – a first for the sport.

“It is an absolute honour to have been considered for the Ambassador position and it was an easy decision after having met the Physical Disability Rugby League NZ team and their families for the very first time,” Tony said.

“I was immediately captivated and inspired by the player’s individual journeys, their resilience and determination to overcome barriers so they can play and enjoy our game.  To witness our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters in action is truly humbling and I have nothing but aroha and respect for each of them and their families.  Grateful to Paul Walsh and Vaughan Perry for introducing me to PDRLNZ.

“PDRLNZ has empowered me to advocate and champion this wonderful kaupapa by promoting its vision – to normalise physical disability, and encourage our physical disability families to get involved.  It has motivated me to reconnect with the Warriors Old Boys, NZ Warriors and NZRL and as a result, a number of brothers from the OGs who have kindly offered their support.”

Sandra Hickey, Founder and Chair of Physical Disability Rugby League, said: “We are thrilled to bits that Tony has accepted the role of Ambassador for Physical Disability Rugby League NZ. Tony is a very humble and honourable person who has a big heart for people, especially those who don’t get as much opportunity in this life as others. We are looking forward to working together to encourage more people with a physical disability to get out and get active. The future is looking really exciting for PDRL”.

Click here to purchase tickets to the GB Lions v Tonga test match / PDRLNZ curtain-raiser

 

 

The New Zealand Rugby League Museum has unveiled a new cabinet celebrating Physical Disability Rugby League New Zealand (PDRLNZ) and their contribution to the game.

As an associate member of NZRL, PDRLNZ has provided our players with a platform to develop, succeed and grow through rugby league, no matter the barrier. This cabinet showcases PDRLNZ’s contribution to the game on and off the field, as they continue to bridge the gap between disabled and non-disabled athletes, break down social stigmas and effect change within our communities.

Since its launch in 2015, PDRLNZ has worked tirelessly to provide a platform for our disabled athletes to showcase their skills domestically and internationally. In 2017, PDRLNZ hosted the inaugural International tournament – the Auckland PDRL Nines. Following this, the PDRLNZ team went to the 2018 Commonwealth Championships in Brisbane, with the New Zealand squad playing a world first PDRL international Tri-test series against Australia and the Commonwealth All Stars. And just recently, PDRLNZ sent a Kiwis team to the 2018 Rugby League Emerging Nations World Championships in Sydney.

Sandra Hickey, Founder and Chair of PDRLNZ says “We are thrilled to have our journey displayed here at NZRL museum alongside the rest of our Rugby League family. This is a proud moment for all of us here at Physical Disability Rugby League New Zealand as history has been made.”

Greg Peters, CEO of NZRL says “PDRLNZ is a perfect example of how we use rugby league to unite communities of people from all tribes and walks of life – which of course, is the Kiwi Way. Their athletes champion the Kiwi Way every single day, embodying values such as diversity, inclusiveness and courage – to name a few.

“PDRLNZ, it’s players, staff, volunteers and all associated, epitomise our More Than A Game philosophy, they lead by example, acting as role-models to all in our league communities from up and down the country. We want to thank them, not only for their work towards growing the game on the field but for effecting important change off the field as well.” Greg concluded.

Looking ahead, NZRL and PDRLNZ are hoping to have PDRL games as test curtain raisers, providing more opportunities for our athletes to play on the international stage.

 

The New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) and Physical Disability Rugby League New Zealand (PDRLNZ)  have teamed up to spread the word of inclusiveness and diversity in sport with rugby league as the vehicle.

The NZRL welcomes PDRL on board as an official affiliate of the organisation, a partnership NZRL CEO Greg Peters is in full support of.

“We are delighted to officially welcome PDRLNZ into the New Zealand Rugby League whanau,”

“Sandra Hickey (founder of PDRLNZ) and her team have done a brilliant job of getting PDRLNZ to where they are today, recently returning from the 2018 PDRL Emerging Nations World Championships with a silver medal,”

“Listening to the stories of the PDRLNZ athletes is truly inspirational and we are so lucky to officially have them on board as an NZRL Affiliate,”

“I look forward to working alongside PDRLNZ to make the game of rugby league accessible to everyone,” Peters said.

Physical Disability Rugby League is a modified version of the game for players with a physical disability who wouldn’t otherwise be able to play. It does not shy away from the impact, collision and physicality of league, but has full contact, partial contact and touch elements, so that it caters for a wide spectrum of impairments, including amputees, cerebral palsy, neuromuscular disorders, limb deficiencies and acquired brain injuries. The rules allow two able bodied players a team, and provide for both male and female players.

When speaking with Sandra Hickey, it’s hard not to buy into her passion for Physical Disability Rugby League in New Zealand and the difference it is making to the lives of their athletes.

“I am absolutely wrapped for our organisation to be affiliated with the National Governing Body as it is not something we take lightly,”

“This partnership creates the opportunity for our PDRL athletes to stand hand-and-hand with their able-bodied peers on the world stage, just as the Kiwis and Kiwi Ferns do,”

“The New Zealand Rugby League is very much entering a fresh new era and we are very proud to be a part of that journey,” Hickey said.

Hickey also says rugby league is helping to break down the stigma of being disabled and encourages people to embrace all participants for who they are.

The partnership between the NZRL and PDRLNZ reinforces the organisation’s commitment to the ‘Sport for Everyone’ framework. This agreement saw sports organisations in New Zealand collaborate in a joint initiative to ensure all codes foster a welcoming and inclusive environment for anyone and everyone to enjoy.

The Physical Disability Rugby League New Zealand (PDRLNZ) has named the New Zealand Representative team that will take part in the Physical Disability event at this year’s Emerging Nations World Championship.

The squad, selected from eligible players from across New Zealand and Australia, will take on the Australian Physical Disability team in a three match series at this year’s Emerging Nations World Championship.

Fixtures for the Physical Disability Representative matches will be released on the Emerging Nations World Championship website in the coming weeks.

New Zealand Representative Team:
Che Fornusek (NSW)
Gary Endacott (Christchurch)
Michael Kulene (Auckland)
Uturei Toparea (Auckland)
Jason Gilmour (Auckland)
James Doolan (Auckland)
Phil Milne (Christchurch)
Ben Tuimaseve (Auckland)
Garry Kingi (NSW)
Timothy Ragg (NSW)
Brad Vear (Taupo)
Matthew Williams (Auckland)
Bruce Cross (Auckland)
Josh Dench (Christchurch)
Jeremy Hendrix Harris (Waikato)
Junior Leaupepe (Auckland)
Freeman Hickey (Auckland)
Josh Hyde (Auckland)

Coach: Rodney Hall (Auckland)
Manager: Bruce Milne (Christchurch)

On Friday night, the Physical Disability Rugby League NZ put on a spectacular curtain raiser before the Warriors v Sharks clash.

Sky TV followed their pre-game preparations and captured just how much it meant for the players to run out at Mt Smart.

Physical Disability Rugby League NZ curtain raiser Vodafone Warriors v Sharks

Physical Disability Rugby League New Zealand inaugural curtain raiser for the Vodafone Warriors v Cronulla Sharks last night. What a privilege to take to the field at Mt Smart in front of friends, family, supporters and the awesome crowd. Too many to thank personally, but huge shout out to Petrece Kesha (Vodafone Warriors community relations manager) for her excellent first job of refereeing PDRL, to Georgia Hale ( Vodafone Warriors community coordinator) for making this happen and looking after us so well last night. to James Gavet our ambassador for coming in and encouraging everyone before the game. Coaches Ray and Fred, outstanding job -again. Captains Gary Endacott and Bruce Cross, thankyou for your leadership on and off the field, family – we couldn't do this without you all, to our athletes you are all amazing human beings and we are so proud of each and everyone of you for the effort you put in week after week and now to have played on Mt Smart is a dream come true. Last shout out to George Tonna the founder of PDRL, without your dream, your passion and your determination none of this would be happening. Thank you to Kerry, Courtney, Rob and the whole Sky Production for your awesome footage of our night and for capturing what we are about…enjoy everyone –

Posted by Physical Disability Rugby League NZ on Friday, 29 June 2018

By Bruce Cross PDRLNZ Board Member

Physical Disability Rugby League continues to grow. The Vodafone Warriors and I put up a trophy, and last November, Physical Disability Rugby League New Zealand, hosted an inaugural International tournament – the Auckland PDRL Nines.

The tournament involved the Tigers, Rabbitohs, Roosters and Manly, as well as New Zealand, playing as the Vodafone Warriors PDRL, and who went on to win the final 6-0 over the Tigers.

PDRLNZ ambassador James Gavet was on hand to present the trophy.

The game is a modified version of league for players with a physical disability who wouldn’t otherwise be able to play. It does not shy away from the impact, collision and physicality of league, but has full contact, partial contact and touch elements, so that it caters for a wide spectrum of impairments, including amputees, cerebral palsy, neuromuscular disorders, limb deficiencies and acquired brain injuries. The rules allow two able bodied players a team, and provide for both male and female players.

In New Zealand, initial efforts to form a team date back to 2014. But PDRL can genuinely lay claim to being Australian. It was started back in 2010 and has the support of the NRL and its clubs.

Following on from its initial success, PDRLNZ continued to create history in February, sending a team to the 2018 Commonwealth Championships in Brisbane, with the New Zealand squad playing a world first PDRL international Tri-test series against Australia and the Commonwealth All Stars. The Commonwealth Championships was an amazing experience with players from Auckland, Christchurch, Rotorua, Taupo and New South Wales all earning the right wear the New Zealand jersey.

But it’s not just on the field where PDRLNZ is leaving its mark. Founder Sandra Hickey says many players doubt they can play league. “But we are proud to say PDRLNZ is having a radical impact on the physically disabled community, inspiring many players to not only grow physically, but also boosting their mental health, self-confidence and social
interaction along the way.”

Having strengthened its Board, further support from within league is seen as critical. The passing of Masters founder Phil Campbell has left a hole for PDRLNZ to fill, and it is trying to identify someone as a top priority.

PDRLNZ’s main goals are to find more players, start a local competition, and find more league connections to help it network and grow the game.

Corporate sponsorship and support to ensure it can field a team at the inaugural PDRL Emerging Nations World Championships in Sydney in October is also paramount.

The Vodafone Warriors continue their support by hosting an upcoming “Have a go” day at Mt Smart on 16 June from 10.30am to 12 noon. Those interested, especially those with a physical disability, are encouraged to come along and meet the NZ PDRL squad, and have a go.

The trophy won by the Vodafone Warriors PDRL team will be on display.

You can register at [email protected]

It is with deep sadness that the New Zealand Rugby League acknowledge the passing of Philip Campbell, who dedicated much of his life to serving the game of rugby league in New Zealand.

Campbell, who passed away on Sunday, was the brainchild of Masters Rugby League in New Zealand, but he also looked out for the young, the up-and-coming and the social.

He tirelessly worked with Auckland Rugby League and the Ponsonby and Mt Wellington clubs, and recently helped launch and run the Physical Disability Rugby League.

Phil’s funeral is being held at Wm Morrison Funeral Home, Universal Drive Henderson on Wednesday March 14 at 12.30pm. In lieu of flowers, a donation box will be in the foyer.

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).

Livestream link here.