Internationals Ruben Wiki, Shontayne Hape and Charlotte Scanlan have played a part in helping wheelchair rugby league make its first moves towards being established in New Zealand.
The wheelchair form of the game proved popular when eight nations lined up at the Rugby League World Cup in England last year but New Zealand wasn’t in a position to field a team.
Last weekend the Warriors Community Foundation joined forces with the New Zealand Rugby League, Auckland Rugby League, Counties Manukau Rugby League and Disability Sport Auckland at a wheelchair rugby league have a go day at the Auckland Spinal Rehab Unit in Otara.
Warriors Community Foundation ambassador Wiki and community programmes coordinator Scanlan took to wheelchairs to get their initiation along with NZRL national game development officer Hape.
“We are looking at running professional development for staff as well as catching up with Disability Sports Auckland and running a programme for schools,” said Warriors Community Foundation CEO Lincoln Jefferson.
Disability Sport Auckland Yann Roux said his organisation was excited.
“Having 20 kids trying this new opportunity shows the potential of wheelchair rugby league,” he said.
“We are thrilled to be part of this. Everyone involved in this event can be proud! I personally see a bright future to wheelchair rugby league in the Auckland region and the country.
“In 2025 or 2029 for the World Cup, we’ll be able to say we were there.”