You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Country co-captains are NSW Blues skippers

The two NSW Country captains from their record-breaking win over NSW City last month – Brad Grove and Diab Karim – have been named joint leaders of the NSW Blues Wheelchair Rugby League team to take on Queensland in Sydney on Saturday 8 July.

Grove (Wests Tigers) and Karim (Parramatta Eels) are also among the five Australian players from last November’s World Cup in the 10-strong NSW Blues side that would dearly love to end the Maroons’ two-year winning streak (2021, 2022).

The 2023 side also has one debutant – Zac Carl (pictured above) from the Wests Tigers.

Grove and Karim led Country to a 70-15 rout of City at the Queanbeyan PCYC in May – the first time a score has reached the 70-point mark.

Carl won Player of the Match in that game with his impressive form leading coach Edie George to put him straight into his NSW side for the NRL Wheelchair State Challenge at Quay Centre in Sydney Olympic Park.

Grove is impressed by his young teammate and what he can bring to the interstate stage.

“Zac is one of our ABs (able-bodied) players and comes from a Rugby League background. He’s developing so well in the wheelchair format of the game,” Grove told

“He’s showing a lot of promise and potential to shake things up a bit.”

Five players are on court at a time, with each side allowed two able-bodied players in their team of 10 making wheelchair Rugby League one of the most inclusive sports around.

George originally named a squad of 14 players but trimmed that to 10 after staging two weekend camps for the NSW Blues.

Grove said it was a matter now of tapping into the frustration of a 49-24 loss to Queensland in Townsville a year ago.

“The boys are pretty passionate. Last year we were fairly upset with the result with the amount of work we put in,” he said.

“At the same time we have to forget about it because it’s a fresh start this year, and half our team is from the Wheelaroos side.

“That’s given us an opportunity to take our play from that World Cup level to pass onto the younger boys in the state side.

“The NSW Wheelchair Rugby League competition this year is easily the tightest season I’ve been a part of, so we’re pretty confident of surprising everyone in July.”

NSW Blues Wheelchair Rugby League Team

Cory Cannane (St George Illawarra Dragons)

Zac Carl (Wests Tigers) *

William Derederenalagi (St George Illawarra Dragons)

Rick Engles (St George Illawarra Dragons)

Brad Grove (Wests Tigers) (Co-Captain)

Brett Henman (Parramatta Eels)

Diab Karim (Parramatta Eels) (Co-Captain)

Liam Luff (Parramatta Eels)

Chris O’Brien  (Parramatta Eels)

Toby Popple (Wests Tigers)

 Reserves (in case of injury):

Jason Attard (Wests Tigers)

Stephan Rochecouste (Wests Tigers)

Coach: Edie George

* Denotes debutant 

Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

Platinum Partner

Major Partners

View All Partners