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NRL Wheelchair Rugby League’s Come, Try & Play project is set to receive a major funding boost after being awarded a Sport Australia participation grant.

The grant will help provide more opportunities for people to play Wheelchair Rugby League as the sport prepares for an increased profile with the World Cup in England next November.

With the support of the NRL and NRL Clubs, NRL Wheelchair Rugby League will engage with the community and hold Come N Try days in metro and regional NSW, Queensland, Victoria, ACT and Northern Territory.

Wheelaroos ready for World Cup challenge

Federal Minister for Sport Richard Colbeck announced the successful Sport Australia grant recipients on Thursday.

“Sport continues to face ongoing challenges as a result of COVID-19,” Colbeck said.

“These grants will help increase participation in sport and physical activity by delivering free, inclusive and high-quality programs for everyone to enjoy.”

“Through this grant program, we’re making communities stronger, more resilient and active.”

Action from the Wheelchair Rugby League State of Origin at Sydney Olympic Park.
Action from the Wheelchair Rugby League State of Origin at Sydney Olympic Park. ©Gregg Porteous /NRL Photos

NRL Wheelchair Rugby League Chair Martin Meredith said: “This grant will have a major impact on the development of our sport across several Australian states.

“It will also provide broader opportunities for all members of the community to come, try and play the game of rugby league.”

A Come, Try & Play project launch will be held early in 2022.

The skill and action of the game’s best players will be on display on January 29, when the NRL Wheelchair State of Origin match is held at The Whitlam Centre in Liverpool.

England captains John Bateman, Tom Halliwell and Amy Hardcastle with the World Cup trophies.
England captains John Bateman, Tom Halliwell and Amy Hardcastle with the World Cup trophies. ©RLWC2021

The match will be the first representative fixture of 2022, with players in the NSW and Queensland teams vying for spots in the Wheelaroos squad to contest the World Cup .

The Wheelchair World Cup will be played simultaneously with the men’s and women’s tournaments for the first time, with all three finals to be played in Manchester on November 18 and 19.

Like the Kangaroos, the Wheelaroos are the No.4 ranked wheelchair playing nation, according to the latest IRL world rankings. The Jillaroos are the No.1 ranked women’s team.

The Wheelaroos open their World Cup campaign against England on November 3 and play Norway on November 6 and  Spain on November 9.

The semi-finals will be played at the England Institute of Sport in Sheffield on November 13, with the final at Manchester Central on November 18.

France wheelchair team celebrate a 2-0 series win against England
France wheelchair team celebrate a 2-0 series win against England ©RFL

The men’s and women’s World Cup finals will be played as double-header at Old Trafford on November 18.

France are the No.1 ranked nation and will enter the World Cup as favourites to win the tournament for a third time after a recent series triumph against England.