Suncoast Spinners Wheelchair Sports Club member and coach James Hill has returned to the Coast jubilant after being part of the Queensland State of Origin Wheelchair Rugby League win in Townsville on the weekend.
The Queensland side claimed back-to-back State of Origin shields for the first time in their history with a dominant 49-24 win over New South Wales.
Suncoast Spinners head coach and Disability Support community project manager James Hill said the game was great preparation for the Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup in the UK later this year.
“With his ability to see plays as they evolve ahead of time, his quick hands in defence and fantastic chair skills, he was an asset to the team on Saturday,” Mr Nugent said
“The thing to really like about James however is his lived-out ethos of including every player, every member of the squad, every person in the touring party to truly feel a part of the team and an equal contributor to the goals of the footy side.”
The game on Saturday night was thrilling, with the Construction Sciences Maroons scoring eight tries to four to defy an 11-7 penalty count against them and claim the 2022 Bravery Trust title. Their superior ball-handling skills and strength close to the line proved too big a handful for the Blues.
Australian Wheelaroos coach Brett Clark said on the back of another strong and powerful State Of Origin game, from the viewpoint of getting the Wheelaroos ready to take out the World Cup in November.
“It’s great to see the confidence in James’ general gameplay and his ability to play the role needed when on the pitch shows he has embraced the mindset and learnings from his time with Queensland coach Jack Brown and from our recent Australia camps.”
Queensland Maroons coach Jack Brown said he couldn’t have asked for more from James this weekend.
“He continues to surprise me with his passion and dedication to this badge, he is simply class.”
James, 24, has been playing wheelchair sports since 2014 after accompanying a friend to a social game. He said at Suncoast Spinners, Reverse Inclusion, where people with and without disabilities are encouraged to play together, was a key part of their mission.
James is one of five able-bodied athletes selected as part of the 13-man World Cup squad to compete against England, France, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Wales and the USA. It is the second time James will represent Australia in the sport.
James said he was really excited about the win on the weekend and was now focused on preparations for the World Cup.
“Last time I got to play as part of the Ashes competition in Australia in 2019, so the competition in the UK later this year will be my first time travelling internationally with the team,” James said.
“Having the opportunity to play wheelchair rugby league with the best in the world at a top-level competition is going to be a real challenge, and I’m really looking forward to it.”
James said he was also grateful to have such strong support from the Suncoast Spinners and his family.
“We have such a great club here on the Sunshine Coast, where everyone of any ability is encouraged to come and play either wheelchair rugby or wheelchair basketball.
“I’m also really excited that my family is going to be travelling to the UK to cheer me on,” he said.
James, supported by Suncoast Spinners, is also the host of the podcast series “The Take A Seat Project” alongside Cameron Sullivan. The series features interviews with experts and athletes with disabilities from around the world, with the aim of raising awareness about disability sports and living with a disability. You can find out more and subscribe at pod.link – https://pod.link/1609241828.
Suncoast Spinners provides social wheelchair rugby and basketball programs and are open to everyone. To find out more, visit the Suncoast Spinners website – suncoastspinners.com.au – or visit them on Facebook @thespinners.