It’s great to have the fans out to our game
but it’s even better that kids with disabilities
can participate in the wonderful game of ours.” I love Rugby League He loves the game. He loves everything about
it. His playing of the game, his watching of the
game, meeting the players, every aspect of the game
he just absolutely loves. This is close to my heart. I have a family
member who has a disability and I just see the enjoyment
she gets from being involved in the sport that I play. It’s turned my son Joshua’s life around
completely. It’s from help from school teachers, schools
mates, the club itself. I love running with the ball. I love tackling
and I love scoring. We were fortunate enough this year; we had
a program which was external to the club. It was the
multi sport program that we had down in the bayside community
were we identified a local (disabled) child there
that was interested in joining a club. Since I had some connections with the Waverley
Panthers RLC we thought we may be able to link him
into the club there He knows so much about the game. His sports
teachers have picked it up how positive he is with
the game, how much knowledge he has got about the game
and they sort of prompted him a bit to get involved
with the local football club. It went from there and they offered him if
he wanted to get involved a little bit further going
into the Safety League side of it where he has done
his courses and so now he is a Safety League official. I love the game because of all my friends
and all the support. It’s really important to include people
with a disability because they are quite isolated. Sport gives them that opportunity. I think
once you get to know someone who has a disability
you’ll see a different perspective on that. We see it in the teams we play against. There was one situation there that we played
this first team. In the first game they had identified that Isaac was different or partly
different from the rest of them. The team that
we played had so much admiration for him, the second time we played them, they lined
up along a picket fence on the other side of
the oval and their coach said ‘Here he comes
Here he comes’ and his team stuck their hands
out and they were just high five-ing him on the
way through. This was before the game started. It touches the teams that he plays and it
touches the parents as well. I have a lot of fun at training. For those getting involved with rugby
league there are many benefits. The friendships they form, the
relationships with the community, being able to participate in a game
they love in rugby league and just the overall fun that they get from the game. The obvious one is the health benefits that
are associated with sport. Rugby league is a fairly
fit game so it’s great for the physical components. His confidence is sky high. He gets quite
embarrassed sometimes at the positive feedback he gets and the positive reaction of people
to him. It pretty much given him a future that he
thinks he might take down the path as in senior officials – like getting really involved
in the senior official side of things. They actually get out and be part of team.
With people who have disabilities what happens is that they do get isolated so rugby league
gives them that opportunity. I like learning all these different skills. Australian Rugby league is working with some
strategies or has some strategies in place to help clubs and coaches and officiating
staff to work with people with disabilities in the game of rugby league. The game is already modified. Below him
(Isaac’s age) it’s a half field and with him the field is brought in 10 metres either
side so there are already modifications in place. (For) Other clubs, coaches and referees to
become a little bit more open-minded about what can happen. From a coaches perspective I haven’t found
a great deal of difference in the style that I would coach if I didn’t have a disabled
child in the team. You’re always going to have kids with high
fitness levels and you’re always going to have kids with lower fitness levels. All
the drills that we do fit accordingly. The best advice I could give is to work
with people outside the club within the community. Probably disability agencies out there.
People in my position such as Access All Abilities or people who do sport and recreation
with people with a disability that are looking for club support and looking to make those
links. Really look into it and give it a go. I
guarantee them that the first time they do this won’t be the last. ARL Development encourages local clubs to
find their local disability organisations such as RecLink and form community
relationships with them. To give these kids the drive, to get that
drive, they have to be given a chance and they have to be given a chance (by)
probably one of the main sports or the best sport, that we all grew up with,
which is rugby league. With a child with a passion and with
what the game has given him in the way of confidence and the rest of it,
he’ll have involvement for the rest of his life in some capacity. Whether it be coaching, administration etc.
Simply wherever the game needs him he’ll be (there). Clubs that are looking to get in involved
can contact Australian Rugby League Development for resources, information
and advice.

Rugby League – A Game for Everyone
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