Victoria win gold as double overtime decides closest Wheelchair Rugby National Championship on record
Wheelchair Rugby fans were treated to what has been described as the most hotly contested National Championship of all time, as teams from across Australia competed in the 2019 GIO Wheelchair Rugby National Championship in Sydney over the weekend.
In a fitting finale, the Gold Medal was won in exceptional circumstances, with two exhilarating periods of overtime eventually separating gold medallists the Victoria Protect Thunder from silver medallists the Suncorp Queensland Tornadoes.
The first day of competition saw over 800 spectators fill the stands for the opening two matches of the Championship, with thousands across the country tuning into the live-stream broadcast over the weekend.
As competition progressed, Australia’s wheelchair rugby community were treated to the tightest domestic competition on record, with seven matches decided by a two-point margin or less and three matches, including the gold medal final, decided in overtime.
The AAMI South Australian Sharks were the ‘feel-good’ story of the weekend. Competing for the first time since 2015, the SA Sharks upset the eventual champions Victoria in the round matches and lost a further two by only a one-point margin. The Sharks were rewarded for their outstanding achievement with captain Andrew Edmonson named the Tournament MVP.
Chris Nay, General Manager of Wheelchair Rugby Australia stated, “The event was an outstanding advertisement for Wheelchair Rugby in Australia. Across any sport, I can’t recall having seen a competition so evenly matched”.
“The level of competition and standard of play across the weekend was exceptional and a large amount of credit must be provided to the state programs on how diligently they prepared for the Championship”.
“This is the pinnacle event for our sport domestically and I am hopeful that we will be able to further grow participation in the event for the coming years after such an amazing competition”.
Despite losing the final, the Suncorp Queensland Tornadoes were the dominant side throughout the pool stage, led by Australian Steeler Chris Bond who scored an impressive 197 tries in 5 games.
The Queensland Cyclones saw off a determined New Zealand Wheel Blacks side in the Bronze Medal match. In a testament to the tight competition, New Zealand’s place in the finals was only confirmed by the final play in the final pool match of the competition, ultimately awarding them their place in the final after a three-way-tie on points saw them progress on account of a stronger for and against points margin than NSW.
2019 GIO Wheelchair Rugby National Championship - Results:
Gold: Victoria Protect Thunder
Silver: Suncorp Queensland Tornadoes
Bronze: Queensland Cyclones
MVP: Andrew Edmonson (AAMI SA Sharks)
Best New Talent: Luke Matthews (Suncorp QLD Tornadoes)
Best in Class:
• 0.5: Michael Ozanne (Suncorp QLD Tornadoes)
• 1.0: Cody Everson (Vero NZL Wheel Blacks)
• 1.5: Richard Voris (GIO NSW Gladiators)
• 2.0: Andrew Edmonson (AAMI SA Sharks)
• 2.5: Cameron Whittaker (QLD Cyclones)
• 3.0: Cameron Leslie (Vero NZL Wheel Blacks)
• 3.5: Chris Bond (Suncorp QLD Tornadoes)
To access the full results table, visit the link below:
For more information, please contact Chris Nay, General Manager - Wheelchair Rugby Australia at email@example.com.