Rhinos stars Brad Dwyer and Jack Broadbent visit PDRL team at training

Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s Physical Disability Rugby League (PDRL) team received a big surprise when Rhinos first team players Brad Dwyer and Jack Broadbent visited their training session on Monday night to give them a boost ahead of their new season, which starts in April.

The duo jumped straight into the action, joining in with some attack vs defence drills whilst offering their own coaching tips and advice in what was an incredible learning opportunity for the PDRL squad with some of their Super League heroes.

As well as doing their bit on the training field, it was also a chance for the pair to learn more about each players’ circumstances and spend time discussing how they are able to overcome obstacles in their lives on and off the rugby field. Having spoken at length with some of the players and witnessed them in action for the first time, Rhinos hooker Dwyer was hugely impressed with both their rugby skills and the character they have shown to go out and fulfil their sporting dreams.

“It probably was my first experience of PDRL, although I seem to remember watching a game against Wakefield they played as a curtain raiser before us a few years ago and I was impressed with the intensity and how much they got stuck in,” recalled Dwyer.

“I’ve really enjoyed coming down tonight to join in with the session and give a few tips here and there. It was pretty evident how difficult it is, as it’s an adapted form of rugby but they’ve also got to understand what each other’s capabilities and issues are. So they’re pretty clever understanding how they can help out their teammates and judging that on the run is a massive skill in itself which I was really impressed with too.

“Hearing their stories, and seeing their attitude towards not letting their disabilities be a barrier for them playing rugby league, is pretty inspiring and it’s also great for the game.”

With the Rhinos now running a record number of teams across all different formats of the game- including Wheelchair, PDRL and Learning Disability Rugby League- rising star Broadbent explained the importance of establishing a ‘one club’ mentality and making sure players from all the teams stay connected.

“They’ve been put through their paces tonight but some of their efforts, especially at the end when they were tired out, were outstanding. Brad was out there throwing cut-out passes to them and they were catching it out of the air one-handed like it was second nature, so I think the skill level in PDRL is phenomenal.”

“As first team players for one of the biggest clubs in the country it’s important that we act as role models in the community and encourage more people to get involved with the sport. It’s always good to go out with Leeds Rhinos Foundation and give something back, because speaking to some of the guys tonight it’s a real reminder for us of how much rugby league means to people and the huge impact in can have on changing people’s lives.”

Tweeting after the session, Rhinos PDRL Player-Coach Dan Roberts said: “Absolutely awesome experience having @DwyerBrad and @JackBroadbent13 at our PDRL training tonight! Brilliant experience for the boys!

Head Coach Keiran Hickman added: “Great PDRL training session tonight. Some great stuff from @DwyerBrad and @JackBroadbent13 to help the lads. Thanks for giving up your evenings lads!”

The new PDRL League season will kick off in just under 3 weeks time over the weekend of April 2/3 with the full 2022 fixture list set to be revealed later this week, including a full list of Festival dates, venues and the teams taking part. 

Leeds Rhinos PDRL team train at Leeds Rugby Academy in Kirkstall every Monday evening, 6-7:30pm and new players are always welcome to join! 

For more information, and details of how to get involved with Leeds Rhinos PDRL, please contact disability@leedsrhinosfoundation.org.