Eight Leeds Rhinos PDRL players will be part of history at Warrington’s Victoria Park on Sunday 15 August, when the venue hosts Physical Disability Rugby League’s first ever Lancashire versus Yorkshire Origin fixture.
This will be the first PDRL match played under the code’s new international rules. And in another first for the game following recent player classification sessions, PDRL will make its debut as a fully classified and internationally recognisable disability sport.
All but four of Lancashire’s 16-player squad play for Warrington – a testament to the Wolves Foundation’s leading role in the development of the physical disability game. But Peter Clark and Sam Zeller will come up against several of their Rhinos teammates when they pull on the Red Rose and represent their home county.
The Yorkshire squad features seven players from Wakefield Trinity and Leeds Rhinos, two more clubs whose Foundations has been at the heart of the rapid rise of PDRL. Receiving selection are the Rhinos’ flying wingers Chris Young and Scott Gobin, who both grabbed braces in the weekend win over Warrington ‘Wire’- while veteran forward Tommy Pouncey is joined by PDRL debutant Harvey Redmonds, who has excelled during his first ever season playing the sport.
RFL Social and Inclusion Manager, Chris Godfrey, said: “Next Sunday is a landmark event for all of us in so many ways, players and administrators alike, and our thanks go to Warrington Wolves Foundation for being such dedicated and enthusiastic hosts.
“As well as being a special occasion, Sunday will be a learning curve for everybody involved in PDRL – a world-first for this variation of the game and its debut as a fully-classified and internationally recognisable disability sport.”
England Community Lions PDRL Head Coach, Shaun Briscoe, added: “This is a great opportunity to showcase physical disability Rugby League to a wider audience. And for the players it’s another step up in their personal development and a chance to showcase their skills to the England Community Lions selectors.”
The Origin fixture itself is part of a Wolves Foundation-led regional PDRL festival for north-west teams. Kicking off at 4.30pm, Lancashire versus Yorkshire will be the climax of a day of celebration of inclusive Rugby League. Similar learning disability Rugby League festivals will take place in Hull and Wakefield over the same weekend.
The full Origin squads are as follows:
Mike Addison, Jamie Barnett, Tom Bayliss (all Warrington Wolves), Peter Clark (Leeds Rhinos), Wayne Cox, Adam Hills, Nathan Jezierski, Lewis Kennedy, Adam Morris (all Warrington Wolves), Steve Mort (Wigan Warriors), Stuart Ryder (Warrington Wolves), Ben Seward (Wigan Warriors), Tony Seward, Barry Whalley, Josh Whipday (all Warrington Wolves), Sam Zeller (Leeds Rhinos).
Mick Colborn (Castleford Tigers), Darren Dean, Alex Dickinson, Adam Fleming (all Wakefield Trinity), Scott Gobin (Leeds Rhinos), Mark Gummerson (Castleford Tigers), Nick Horner (Leeds Rhinos), John Humphries (Wakefield Trinity), Nick Kennedy (Castleford Tigers), Connor Lynes, Ben Nicholson, Callum Parkinson (all Wakefield Trinity), Tommy Pouncey, Harvey Redmonds, Tom Sheridan (all Leeds Rhinos), Kenan Wilkes (Castleford Tigers), Chris Young (Leeds Rhinos).