The Leeds Rhinos Foundation Physical Disability Rugby League team competed in the UK’s first PDRL game against Warrington Wolves Foundation this Sunday at Victoria Park, Warrington.
The Rhinos team who had been formed only a week earlier following trials secured a 22-10 victory in the historic game.
Captain, Chris Hall, ran half the length of the pitch for the opening try, which Nathan Collins converted. Josh Butler went over from close range for his team’s second try. Simon brown got the third and Tom Lockett spotted gap to go over for a late try to seal the win, with Owen Lockwood converting.
Both teams were joined by special guest players, channel 4’s The Last Leg stars, Adam Hills and Alex Brooker. Hills represented the Wolves and crossed for a first half try and Brooker, who is a Rhinos fan, came on for the Rhinos in his Rugby League debut.
Hills has played a huge role in bringing the PDRL game to the UK after seeing how successful it had been in his native Australia.
“I got involved because I played Rugby League until I was 15 in Sydney,” explained Hills. “I found out last year that there were five PDRL sides in Sydney and I called them up to see how I could help, and they said nothing as you live in England! They did say Warrington were looking to set up the first PDRL side and Warrington Wolves Foundation have been fantastic in setting this up. At our first trial session, Chris Godfrey came across from Leeds and set up the Leeds Rhinos team and that led to the first game. There has been lots of interest in the game and hopefully next year more teams will be involved and there will be a PDRL competition.
“I want to thank everyone who came along to support the team. First of all we wanted to show the crowd some top class sport and we hope all the people who came along will spread the word and so more people will come along and support PDRL.”
Brooker added: “I enjoyed it the game and think this is a great concept. I have never played Rugby League before and when I started doing the warm up I started to get quite concerned as I wasn’t sure what I was doing, but as an introduction to Rugby League it was fascinating and it was a great game.”
Leeds Rhinos captain Chris Hall, who has played for Castleford and Wakefield Academy before picking up a head injury in a game for Kippax Knights said: “I have not played rugby in six years and this has been a massive opportunity for me. The boys went really well, particularly as we only had two training sessions. They really worked hard out there and with a few more training sessions under our belt we can only get better. The crowd was incredible and everyone who got behind the team from the start. Credit to both Foundations for setting up the opportunity for us all.”
Chris Godfrey, Disability Project Coordinator Leeds Rhinos Foundation, said: “We are thrilled with the response to our PDRL team. We started looking at setting this up last year and started working with Warrington to come up with the idea of doing this trial series and we are overwhelmed with the support we have had for the PDRL concept. The standard of players who tried out for the team was incredible and we are delighted to be able to offer this opportunity to make our game accessible for more people.
“I would like to thank all the people who have supported the team, particularly Alex Brooker who played in the game, Adam Hills for helping drive this PDRL concept along with Warrington Wolves Foundation, Barrie McDermott who has been behind this since the start as our Ambassador and Neil Wilson and Chadwick Lawrence who has kindly sponsored the team.
“We have already started planning for our return fixture in Leeds and hope this concept will continue to grow with more teams involved in the future.”
For more information on the Leeds Rhinos Foundation PDRL team contact firstname.lastname@example.org