Roll in for title win

FIVE state teams were joined by the New Zealand Wheel Blacks at the Quaycentre at Sydney Olympic Park last week for the most hotly contested Wheelchair Rugby National Championships on record.

The NSW GIO Gladiators, who train at Netball Centre at Sydney Olympic Park, were buoyed by a home crowd advantage and the welcome the inclusion of Australian Steelers captain, Ryley Batt, who was missing through injury last year.
The first day of competition saw NSW up against the QLD Cyclones losing 67-54, before bouncing back against the WheelBlacks in their second game of the day to take a win by two points, 54-52.
Day two saw NSW fall to the Victoria Thunder 63-54 in game one, before beating the SA Sharks by just one point, 59-58 in their second game of the day.
Unfortunately for the home side’s fans on day three NSW lost their final game against the QLD Tornadoes, 56-44, to finish the competition out of medal contention in fifth place.
In what ended up being the tightest domestic competition in memory, seven matches were decided by a two-point margin or less and three matches, including the gold medal final between the eventual champions, the Victoria Thunder, and silver medallists, the QLD Tornadoes, decided in overtime.
Wheelchair Rugby Australia general manager Chris Nay said the three-day event was an “outstanding advertisement” for the game.
“Across any sport, I can’t recall having seen a competition so evenly matched,” he said.
“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.”