Leagueability: Ep 3 – The team with no game

Leagueability: Ep 3 – The team with no game

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Today, Tyrone Roberts of the Gold Coast
Titans has joined the boys at their weekly training session. News about the
physical disability rugby league team is spreading and another five young
men have turned up to put on the boots. One of the players is Chris Hardy. He’s a
really fast runner, he’s in the volunteer fire brigade and he’s just joined the
marine rescue. He loves getting around in the uniform. Then we’ve got another
Liam, very clever with the ball, he’s gonna make a really good five-eighth. So he’s gonna be a real find for us. Jakey’s come right out of his shell and he’s
enjoying himself, doesn’t miss training. Warrior’s a really good young player and
he’s going really well, he’s finding his feet, he’s getting to know everybody. Another boy that’s
come along is Lane, a fantastic goal kicker and really fast and
he’s a real asset to the team. The new players have high expectations
and the pressure is now on for Terry to get the team their first real game. If the new physical disability squad is
to survive and play their first game, Terry is going to need help to fill the
huge gap left by his ex-partner, FSG. First to step up is a coaching crew from
the juniors at Ballina’s Seagulls, who have offered to put the squad through their
paces every week. But Terry and his wife Janine are also on a mission to find a new
partner. Help arrives from an unexpected source. Nghaeria Breckenridge and Isobel Bradshaw
from Bunjum Aboriginal Corporation work with indigenous people with
disabilities. They volunteered to help Terry and Janine manage the team and
raise funds. We’re doing raffles, all proceeds go to the disability side. People with the least, I guess, have turned around and offered their services to us. It’s been heartwarming the people that want to get involved. And there’s more exciting news. Northern United, the local rugby league club, have invited the team to play their first game at the 2018 Lismore Aboriginal knockout. It come
as a bit of a thing from left field that we got their approach. I think
they’re great people, I’m sure they’ve come across a lot of roadblocks but
they keep pushing ahead. And they’re at a stage where we once
were so, you know, any help that we could give them we’re more than happy to. The things are happening for them they’re
starting to see it now. All this training we’ve been doing and I’ve had to keep
saying, ‘Yeah, we’ll get a game soon we’ll get a game soon’ and now finally we’re
getting a game and it’s this Sunday. And a last-minute recruit has arrived. A mate of Terry’s from Sydney
with a tonne of experience. Todd Philpott plays with the South
Sydney Rabbitohs’ physical disability team. Last Sunday I ran on with the
South Sydney jumper on Redfern Oval. To me, that’s my hallowed ground. I used to go
there is a baby with dad and watch the footy together with the greats. I feel like an impostor half the time because I can’t even bloody run
properly you know but they they can’t believe the skills. Despite us maybe not
having an arm that’s working properly or visually impaired or being an amputee,
and how we can combine, with the skills we have to really, really have some fun
on there which is the main thing. Yeah, I’m pretty good with distributing
ball and organising around the ruck area and seeing a fast guy and send one out, see if he can go through, and stuff like that. In the 1980s, Todd was a champion
bodybuilder and a professional trainer to the rich and famous at Sydney’s City
Gym. But in 1992, as he was riding his motorcycle home from work, a taxi hit
Todd head on. Todd’s leg took the full force of the impact. They tried to fix my
leg but it shattered like glass the impact was so severe in the tibia, the fibula,
the lower leg. The surgeon come in and said, ‘We tried so hard to save your
leg we don’t think you’re going to be saved but if you don’t sign for
amputation you’re definitely not gonna be saved’. You know, as an athlete, to sign
for your own amputation I said, ‘There’s no way I’m gonna do that’ and the
surgeon said, ‘Look Todd, we don’t think you’re gonna come out of it’. I still
remember the red cross and there you go. As an athlete all my life, trying to be as fit
as I can be, used it as a career, and to sign to choose to have your own leg … but to
be alive is a fantastic thing so I figured to be upset about what you don’t
have as a former athlete, is a waste of what you do have and just focus
on what you can do with what you got left. Today, Todd is a champion
Paralympian, weightlifting and hand cyclist world record holder. That’s what I say to them, ‘If this old
bastard at over 60 with a leg missing can get out in the field,
imagine what you’ll be able to do with your potential’. This is only Warrior’s
fifth night of training and already his parents are seeing a growth spurt that
goes far beyond a sprint to the try line. After you went over to football there,
come back to seeing some of the boys with little moustaches and beards. You said, ‘Oh, I’m getting a few hairs dad’ and I said, ‘Oh, you want to shave, time to shave?’
And he said, ‘Yep’. Growing up a little bit more maybe. He stepped up that level of
maturity. I can play football now, I’m out there, yeah, self-esteem. But Warrior’s journey to manhood has not been an easy one. The diagnosis of Down syndrome when he was a baby was the beginning of countless trips to the hospital. Really, we thought we gonna lose him before the time he was 10. He died twice. That’s why his nickname is ‘Warrior’. Because he’s a little fighter. A bit of fighting spirit is a good
asset for the tough and tumble of the footy field and Warrior’s new-found
confidence is helping him tackle his other great love. Disability awareness is
really on the rise and I’m so thankful for it and the more people are getting
aware, the more it’s coming from the heart and that makes better people out
of all of us. With only three days to their first game,
it’s time for the team to master a Titans’ tradition. This is the song the Titans boys sing when they win a game. ♫ I know who and what I am, I’m a mighty Titans man. ♫ In the next and final episode, we join the players as they prepare for their big game. For Dale Cameron, there’s a lot at stake. He recently fractured a hip joint and
his new leg brace is not match ready. It’s like having hard plastic just rub
up against your ankle bones all day. But I’m not throwing away my first opportunity to
play football. No way. I’ve been waiting for this for too long.

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