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NZ squad for inaugural Physical Disability Rugby League test

Press Release – Physical Disability Rugby League NZ

New Zealand squad for inaugural Physical Disability Rugby League test matches named AUCKLAND CITY, New Zealand, 4 January 2018New Zealand squad for inaugural Physical Disability
Rugby League test matches named

AUCKLAND CITY, New Zealand, 4 January 2018

The inaugural New Zealand Physical Disability Rugby League team has been selected for a three test series against Australia and Commonwealth All Stars at the Commonwealth Championships 2018. This is the first time physical disability has been included at the Commonwealth Championships and our stars are set to shine.

The Board of Physical Disability Rugby League New Zealand Incorporated congratulate the following athletes on their selection for the New Zealand Physically Disability Rugby League team:

Lisa Adams (Rotorua)
Gary Endacott (Christchurch)
Jason Gilmour (Auckland)
Garry Kingi (Sydney, New South Wales)
Michael Kulene (Auckland)
Leatuu Lee Ngauamo (Auckland)
Philip Milne (Christchurch)
Bruce Cross (Vice Captain) (Auckland)
Che Fornusek (Sydney, New South Wales)
Brad Vear (Captain) (Taupo)
Mathew Williams (Auckland)
Freeman Hickey (Auckland)
Junior Leaupepe (Auckland)
Jason Matene (Auckland)
Ngatikarika Poona (Auckland)
Coaching Team
Raymond Greaves Head Coach
Fred McGregor Assistant Coach
Junior Leaupepe Assistant Coach

Sandra Hickey Manager
Farani Faga Media
Following on from the first international event of its kind, the Physical Disability 9’s held in Auckland in November 2017, the stage is set to showcase Physical Disability Rugby League to the world with their inaugural appearance at the Commonwealth Championships set to be held on the 23rd and 24th February 2018 in Brisbane. With only 7 weeks to go the heat is on to make sure our athletes are in peak condition to take on our trans tasman rivals.
PDRLNZ Head Coach Raymond Greaves said: “This was a really tough team to pick”. The entire training squad showed passion and determination to earn the right to represent their country and we think we’ve picked a balanced side which will do Aotearoa proud.”
PDRLNZ Co-founder Sandra Hickey congratulated the entire team on their selection:
“Congratulations to the athletes and thier families named today for the New Zealand squad to play in the Physical Disability Rugby League test matches. Your test matches against Australia Physical Disability Rugby League and the Commonwealth All Stars Physical Disability Rugby League is a world first and as such you are all history makers – this test series will be a game changer for all disabled people globally. We are so proud of you all, and so proud to have you represent Aotearoa on the global stage.”
The players will continue to have training camps and assemble early February before flying out on Wednesday 21st February 2018.
Interesting Facts
• Endorsed by event partner Commonwealth Games Federation, the Commonwealth Championship is a ticketed lead-in event to the Commonwealth Games. It includes over 300 players from around the Commonwealth, Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, Scotland, Wales, Papua New Guinea and this year will include the inaugural International PDRL test matches in a Tri-Series between Australia, New Zealand and Commonwealth All-Stars.
• The side includes several players from the Vodafone Warriors Physical Disability Rugby League side that recently beat West Tigers, Rabbitohs and Manly to win the Inaugural PDRL 9’s.
• PDRLNZ Captain, Brad Vear, (Ngai Tai) . Right arm amputee above elbow. Paralympian 1988,winner of numerous Touch national titles in various grades, 1991 World Cup NZ National touch player,1999 NZ Mens Touch World Cup player touring Queensland.
• Leatuu Lee Ngauama – (Tonga): Amputee left arm above elbow. Competed in many tournaments in Australia on the golf amputee circuit, 11th year playing Masters Rugby League. Strong on both offensive and defensive
• Gary Endacott – NZ born European: son of former Kiwis coach, Frank Endacott. Gary was born with Cerebral Palsy and his parents were told he would never walk: NZ and World Disabled Tennis champion – standing division, completed 4 New York Marathons on foot. First physical disabled person to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, NZ Rugby League Sports Personality of the year award recipient, New Years Honors list – MNZM, winner of Corbett Ryan pathway award. Played Rugby League just under 30 years.
• Lisa Adams – Tonga: from strong sporting family, becomes the 1st female to represent New Zealand at PDRL and first PDRL woman player to play internationally.
• Bruce Cross – Auckland – has had 2 Cerebal Palsy events. His first aged 7 resulted from a brain injury caused while playing sports. Later he had tumors removed from his spinal cord and became the first SCI player in PDRL history. Winner of Warriors MVP and Karl Hickey Memorial Trophy for Player of the tournament at inaugural PDRL Nines.
• PDRLNZ was launched in 2015 and incorporated in August 2017
• PDRLNZ Ambassador is current Vodafone Warriors NRL Player James Gavet.
• PDRL is the vision of Australian George Tonna, who conceived the opportunity for disabled players in 2010. His dream has grown to now include a physical disability team under the NRL teams of Rabbitohs, Manly, Roosters, Tigers and the Newtown Jets.

• Sponsorship pacakges including jersey sponsors for Physical Disability Rugby League New Zealand remain available.

PDRLNZ is a non-profit sports organization in New Zealand called Physically Disabled Rugby League NZ Incorporated. We provide the physically disabled with opportunity to become more recognized, accepted, and stronger both physically and mentally through rugby league.

We aim to normalise disability in New Zealand. We strive for Government, commercial and public recognition of disabled persons in Rugby League with the intention of helping New Zealander’s understand, accept and support the physically disabled.

Check out PDRLNZ facebook page to find out more: PDRLNZ Facebook Page

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