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Queensland ready to roll for State of Origin match up

This year is shaping up as a huge one for the nation’s best wheelchair rugby league players, with next week’s NRL Wheelchair State of Origin kicking off a busy representative calendar in 2022.

There has been a steady growth in support and exposure for the game during recent seasons and players will be pushing their case for selection in the Australian team when they face off in the annual interstate clash at the Whitlam Leisure Centre in Liverpool, Sydney, on Saturday, January 29.

The Australian Wheelaroos team will compete in the Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup in England later this year, with the tournament to be played simultaneously with the men’s and women’s tournaments for the first time.

Queensland coach Jack Brown said with improved preparations across the board in the lead-up to this game, he was confident in a strong showing by his side for the match that was postponed last year due to COVID-19 complications.

“New South Wales have been a tough unit for a very long time now by developing with their long-running domestic leagues,” Brown said.

“It has given them the advantage against Queensland in the past. On the other side, Queensland previously have had literally no preparation leading up to their Origin games.

“This year, they have had full Queensland trials and camps to prepare themselves and have had the time to plan and learn how each individual in their team works.

“It’s safe to say, this is the greatest chance Queensland have had so far, and we’re only getting better.

“The players are some of the most professional individuals I have had the pleasure to work with.

“I’m sure they're all excited for the chance to represent their country and with the form they are showing in our Queensland sessions now, Brett (Clark – Australia head coach) will be lucky to have any of them in his squad.”

Action from the 2019 NRL Wheelchair State of Origin game. Photo: NRL Images
Action from the 2019 NRL Wheelchair State of Origin game. Photo: NRL Images

The match with kick off at 3pm AEDT and New South Wales Rugby League plan to livestream the game.

The State of Origin match comes as the sport recently announced their Come, Try and Play project received 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. In Queensland, big strides have already been made in recent years, with Brown happy to see a growth in grassroots competitions which also lead to the inaugural state championships being staged last year.

“I can’t speak for previous seasons as I only arrived in Queensland before the 2021 season, (but) having said that, I was involved in the Ashes series between England and Australia in 2019 when there were no domestic level competitions in Queensland,” Brown said.

“Then last season, it hit off with the first leagues in North Queensland and South East Queensland, with some amazing skills on show and heaps of opportunities for juniors and their parents to get involved.

“After this State of Origin and then the World Cup this year, our expectations for growth in the sport are sure to be exceeded.”

'It's exciting to be a part of it, with the sport growing'

Find out more about Wheelchair Rugby League via their website.

Queensland Wheelchair Rugby League 2022 squad

Pete Arbuckle
Shaun Harre (c)
Giles Harris
James Hill
Mathew Lodewikus
Bayley McKenna
Mathew Lodewikus
Zac Schumacher
Adam Tannock 

Head coach: Jack Brown
Assistant coach: JJ Atuahiva
Team manager: Jade Brown
Trainer: Peter Angelo-asiga Lee
Interim chair of Queensland: David Nugent

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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