Leagueability: Meet the men who dream of playing their first game of rugby league

Leagueability: Meet the men who dream of playing their first game of rugby league

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You know how sometimes when you go through life you find yourself not doing what you’re supposed to do? You know, I was
built to be an athlete, I was built to run, and now I’m getting the opportunity to do what it is that I was supposed to do. For first time in his life,
Dale Cameron’s disability is not holding him back from playing the game he loves. It’s just so important to me. I always wanted to play football, you know, it’s what I was built for. It’s all part of captain Terry Litton’s bold vision to
take the hard, tough game of rugby league, and toss in a bunch of blokes who’ve never
been allowed to play. No-one would give him a go, you know? He can play footy. It’s the first time I’ve ever played football in my life. and convince a high-profile club to
give them their first big game. Yeah, it would make all their dreams come true. Thirty-three-year-old Dale Cameron has
been weightlifting since he was a boy. And even though he’s extremely strong,
until recently he thought his physical disability would stop him from ever
playing rugby league. My disability was called transverse myelitis. When it first happened, I think I was 11. My
spinal cord, yeah, it kind of caused like a full-body paralysis. Doctors even now
don’t really know much about it. Twenty-two years later the muscles in Dale’s
right leg are still wasted and weak and his leg is still partly paralysed. He
also has titanium rods in his spine. It just made me very uneven and therefore
my spine started curving and twisting in unnatural ways. It stops me doing a lot
of things that I wanted to do. The new physical disability rugby league
team is based at the home of the Ballina Seagulls. Terry Litton is a player and
the captain of the team. I was actually at the gym when I first met Dale. I noticed he had a brace on his leg so I
went up to him and I said ‘excuse me, I can see you’ve got a disability. Would
you be interested in playing football?’ And he looked me up and down and the
first thing he said to me was ‘do I get the tackle people?’ And I said ‘yeah’. He
said ‘OK, count me in’. He’s been to training just about every night and he
can’t wait for his first game. Because he’s been one of these kids that have never been allowed to play. It’s challenging, learning plays and drills and all that stuff but I’m sticking it out, I want this more than anything. The Seagulls’ Ballina ground has become almost a home away from home for Dale’s teammate, Johno Everson. Johnno helps out at the Seagulls Under 15s
training nights and runs the water and kicking T onto the ground for all their
home matches. Do you like being one of the boys? Yeah boys, yeah, boys. And how do you cheer them on? Johno has a moderate
intellectual disability plus a speech disability plus he also suffers from
anxiety and epilepsy as well. And what do you like about football? So good. Does it make you happy? Happy. He talks about it all the time when we see him. What are you learning at football training? How to tackle? Yeah. And what else are you learning at football? Pass. How to pass it, yeah? And are you making a few good runs? Yeah. What’s your favourite sport? Is
it football? Football! Like all the players in his team, Terry Litton is no stranger to the challenges of living with a physical
disability. In 2011, he nearly died from a brain aneurysm. A craniotomy saved his
life but was followed by a stroke and epileptic fits. I had to take a lot of
medication. I was in another world most of the time, talking to people that
weren’t there. Probably the worst year on record for our family. They went through
hell. The aneurysm has also left Terry legally blind. I’m blind in my right eye and I’ve only got 30 per cent vision out of my left eye. Despite these hurdles, Terry was
determined to return to playing rugby league. A dream that came true at the
2018 Commonwealth Championships when he played in one of Australia’s physical
disability rugby league teams. Rugby league’s been a massive part of my
life since I was a five-year-old boy. My dad took me down the park to play
football and that’s probably been one of the best things that’s ever happened to
me. If I’ve got 500 friends in this world I reckon I’ve got 450 of them from rugby
league and I know what it’s like to play rugby league and I wanted to do
it again and I’ve seen lots of boys that have never had that opportunity. They’ll
be the ones that come to the ground and they’ll sit there and they’ll watch and
they’re not allowed to play because of the certain disabilities they have. But
you know this is their chance to have a go. Play a game of football, see them pull
their boots on and enjoy themselves. Just do what everyone else does and see their
families enjoy it. Yeah, it would make all their dreams come true. Next episode we meet Anno, who has wanted to play rugby league since he was a
toddler. Someone’s finally given him an opportunity to go and play. Fulfil his
dreams that he wants to play football. And we find out why the Gold Coast Titans
come to town to meet our team.

1 thought on “Leagueability: Meet the men who dream of playing their first game of rugby league”

  1. ?? SO inspirational! Opportunity for everyone with an unstoppable attitude. ????????????? LIVE your DREAMS! ??️⛹️?⛹️?️?

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