Titans take part in wheelchair Origin challenge
NSW-born Gold Coast players took part in a State of Origin challenge of a different kind as they went head-to-head with members of the Queensland Wheelchair Rugby team.by NRL
NSW-born Gold Coast players took part in a State of Origin challenge of a different kind as they went head-to-head with members of the Queensland Wheelchair Rugby team.
Jetstar Titans players Mark Minichiello, Luke Douglas, Ryan James, Beau Falloon, Beau Henry and Cody Nelson strapped themselves in specially designed wheelchairs to take on members of the Qld Wheelchair Rugby team, who are gearing up to take part in this weekend's Queensland Wheelchair Rugby State Championships from May 25-27.
The Qld Wheelchair Rugby team actually competes in the national league under the banner of the "Jetstar Gold Coast Titans'' as part of an ongoing sponsorship arrangement with the Titans over the past four years.
With the Jetstar Titans players given a crash course in wheelchair rugby, it was no surprise to see the Queensland Wheelchair Rugby team asserting their dominance.
While the Jetstar Titans put their bodies on the line every weekend, Titans forward Mark Minichiello said today's activity was a tough enough challenge in its own right.
"It was great fun actually, the Queensland team are out here and we're just running them through their paces for the State titles they've got coming up this weekend,'' he joked.
"You can see I'm sweating. It was a bit of fun and it's really tough work. I'm pretty puffed and my shoulders are burning.''
Taking on the Titans were two Australian Wheelchair Basketball representatives in Ben Newton and Chris Bond.
Newton, who is also the team captain of the Jetstar Gold Coast Titans wheelchair rugby side, said the Titans were competitive despite taking some time to get the hang of the game.
"It was fun. It took a little while for them to get into it and start catching the ball properly but they got into it,'' he said.
Of Minichiello's efforts, Newton said: "I heard him complaining about sore shoulders - and being a bigger boy, I think he might have found it a bit easier in a bigger chair. He did well, he got into it.''
Sporting Wheelies & Disabled Association of Queensland was one of four beneficiaries of last Saturday night's seventh annual Titans Charity Ball which raised over $100,000.
Newton said the Titans' ongoing support of the Sporting Wheelies & Disabled Association of Queensland was a great benefit to the team.
"It's been huge. It takes away a lot of the day-to-day worries of finding money, training and putting money towards equipment and venue hire and all the stuff that comes with being a semi-prop athlete,'' he said.
"A lot of the boys don't work or can't work so to have this sponsorship with our team means a huge amount.''
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