What a massive year of Wheelchair Rugby! With the two Fierce 4 Rugby Challenge events in Brisbane and Melbourne, the 2015 GIO Wheelchair Rugby Championships in Sydney and the celebration of 25 years of Wheelchair Rugby national competition in Australia, we certainly had people talking!
We kicked off the season with the Fierce 4 Rugby Brisbane Challenge with the GIO NSW Gladiators, Suncorp Queensland Cyclones and Victoria Protect Thunder competing over three days in March, with Victoria winning the first challenge against NSW 55 - 42.
The Fierce 4 Rugby Melbourne Challenge in June saw Victoria Protect Lightning, Asteron West Coast Enforcers and Canada join the fray in the freezing Victorian weather. The home cold weather advantage didn't help the Victorians, but it sure helped the Canadians feel right at home! They beat NSW 62-59, but the Steelers soon stole their down under thunder later in the week, winning 3 games to 2.
The third and final event was the 2015 GIO Wheelchair Rugby Championships. Vero New Zealand team joined the usual suspects for a very action packed 3 days of competition! Victoria Protect proving to be the overtime underdogs, and rib injuries wreaking havoc in a few teams. The final results were Asteron West Cost Enforcers - Bronze, Suncorp QLD Cyclones - Silver and the GIO NSW Gladiators won gold, successfully defeating their title with a win over QLD 59 - 53!
Between the Bronze and Gold medal matches, we were treated to a 4, then 6... then 8-a-side celebrity match with our awesome Wheelchair Rugby ambassador Nathan Sharpe, Former Welsh rugby star and all round good guy Ben Evans, Bill Pulver CEO and Ann Sherry Director of the ARU, the delightful Emily Prior and our feisty CEO Jenni Cole, to name a few. It was a crazy game of fast passes, quick hands and sneaky tactics and no one was really keeping score, but we certainly enjoyed the spectacle none the less!
With The Voice Australia's Tim McCallum rounding out the competition with a moving rendition of This Is The Moment, we bid farewell to a fantastic year of Wheelchair Rugby. We hope to see you all again in Autumn for the first round of competition in 2016! It's going to be another FIERCE year!