National | Disability

NZ's physical disability rugby league team prepare for first Commonwealth Champs

New Zealand's Physical Disability Rugby League team is preparing for their biggest sporting tournament yet. This week the 20 strong squad will compete in the 2018 Rugby League Commonwealth Championship in Queensland where they will take on Australia in the first ever tri-series test.

PDRLNZ athletes are preparing for their first ever international rugby league nines tournament.

PDRLNZ Captain Brad Vear says “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 training.”

The championships is one of the exhibition sports for the 2018 Commonwealth games with the physical disability tri-series making up one feature of the event. The squad, who have spent most of the summer training, will meet Australia's PDRL side and the Commonwealth All Stars. They’ll share the field with the world’s best men's and women's nine teams in support of the bid for rugby league nines to be included as a medal event.

Head Coach Raymond Greaves says “They're buzzing with excitement and they are really looking forward to what we are going over to achieve for the very first time. Not only for themselves but for their country and their whānau.”

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.”