Keating & Robinson to help launch Wheelchair League

Parramatta Eels players Kris Keating and Tim Robinson will help usher in a new era for disability sports in New South Wales with the introduction of an official Wheelchair Rugby League competition today.

Together with NSW Rugby League, and with support from Parramatta City Council, NSW Wheelchair Rugby League Inc. will launch their new sport in Parramatta's Church Street Mall at 12pm. Fittingly, the launch will form a part of Parramatta City Council's annual International Day of People with Disabilities celebrations.

Joseph Chidiac, spokesman for NSW Wheelchair Rugby League Inc, believes it is an exciting time for disability sports in New South Wales.

"The form of Wheelchair Rugby League that will be played is currently well established internationally. Britain, France and the Czech Republic all have their own local-competitions," Chidiac said.

"In 2008, both Britain and France sent a team to Australia to compete in a Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup event. It was during this event that we could see the potential and the need for such a sport in Australia.

"This sport will not just be for people with disabilities. Like the other competing nations, we will be encouraging non-disabled athletes to compete as well.

The inclusion of non-disabled athletes has proved quite successful overseas in building initial numbers and teams while also offering a level-playing-field for both types of athlete, which is something not many other sports have the ability to offer.

"NSW Wheelchair Rugby League Inc. is working closely with the NSW Rugby League on this new competition and is determined to make it a huge success."

Activities on the day will include demonstration games in front of Town Hall featuring existing Wheelchair Rugby League athletes and some NRL guest stars. Passers-by will be invited to participate alongside these players in a series of special demonstration games from between 10am and 2pm.

Wheelchair Rugby League is basically Rugby League sitting down. All the same rules apply, except there is no tackling. Players wear tags on their sleeves and once a tag is removed the player is considered to be tackled. It is played on an indoor basketball court using a 5-on-5 format.

For more information regarding NSW Wheelchair Rugby League Inc. please visit www.nswwrl.com.au