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Physical Disability players gearing up for NSW-QLD game

The focus for Physical Disability Rugby League in 2024 is an inaugural NSW-Queensland interstate match in June and it all begins with taking part in NSWRL’s ‘Inclusion Day’ on Saturday (23 March).

“Any opportunity we can get to showcase our game and the players we have, we’ll take it,” said Paul Tubridy, director of the NSW Physical Disability Rugby League Association (NSWPDRLA).

“It’s a big year for us because it looks like we’ll have our first interstate game coming up. We’ve been gearing up for that by working with the QRL (Queensland Rugby League) to make sure we can finally get it off the ground.”

There was a recent game between a combined Sydney competition team against a Gold Coast side, but Turbidy said it was always the aim to get an official interstate clash.

The success of this format continues to grow off the back of the 2022 World Cup, which for the first time had a four-nation exhibition event between England, Australia, Wales and New Zealand in Warrington, UK.

Physical Disability will be part of the next World Cup in 2025.

On Saturday two Physical Disability teams will play a game – two 20-minutes halves – on the NSWRL Centre of Excellence (COE) field at Sydney Olympic Park as part of ‘Inclusion Day’ activities to highlight how Rugby League is the ‘Game for All’. 

“We’ll be around to answer any questions because many people will know somebody who might want to play Rugby League but don’t think they can as they have some form of disability,” Turbidy said.

“We take every opportunity to show the quality of our game because the players themselves are very proud of what they do.

“They know they will have lots of eyes on them playing on such an important day at such an important venue – the Centre of Excellence.

“They are out to show their skills and build up the reputation of their game.”

The NSWPDRLA staged a ‘Come ‘N Try’ game at Wyong last weekend, which Turbidy said was “a huge success”.

The Sydney Physical Disability season starts on the weekend of 6-7 April and will have 70 players in five teams – four connected to established NRL clubs the South Sydney Rabbitohs, Wests Tigers, Parramatta Eels, and Sydney Roosters – and one to NSW Cup club, Newtown Jets.

There are 11 players on each team and due to the varying functional ability of players, they are given a classification of A, B or C.

Players wear black or dark shorts, meaning they can be tackled, or red shorts stipulating they must be touched to complete a ‘tackle’.

The field is 100-metres in length but 10 metres shorter in width than for a NRL match.

The Physical Disability game became affiliated with the NSWRL in 2017-18 and received NRL recognition in 2023.

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