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The NSWRL has congratulated Joseph Chidiac after he was awarded life membership of Wheelchair Rugby League Australia (WRL) for services to the organisation.

Joseph has overseen the New South Wales Wheelchair Rugby League competition since its inception in 2010. He received the honour after ensuring that people with disability and their families could not only play the game together but also have a defined pathway to a representative level.

“Joseph has made such massive contribution to not only Wheelchair Rugby League but to sport as a whole,” NSWRL Chief Executive David Trodden said.

“He should be proud of everything he has achieved and the growth and success of the sport is a reflection of the passion he has for it.”

WRL Patron and NSWRL Foundation chairman John Ajaka, MLC, commended Chidiac for his leadership and commitment to the game.

“This is a well-deserved recognition and acknowledgement of Joseph’s role in establishing and growing the sport in Australia,” Ajaka said.

“As a former Minister for Disability Services, I have seen firsthand the difference that WRL plays in improving overall health and wellbeing outcomes for people with disability and their families”.

Having set himself a personal challenge early on, Chidiac went on to establish Wheelchair Rugby League in NSW before integrating the game into mainstream rugby league and further broadening the game to become nationally recognised. 

In 2021 Wheelchair Rugby League will for the first time take equal ranking alongside the men’s and women’s games at the Rugby League World Cup in England.

“When I first started this journey the large majority of people said it wouldn’t work. I must admit that I was strongly driven by my desire to be part of the game that I loved,” Chidiac said.

“Over the years my greatest joy is to see the faces of the young players and knowing that sport is the great equaliser. This sport gives everyone a chance to belong and that’s what continues to drive me to ensure its growth and success”.