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.