Wigan Warriors PDRL and LDRL teams trained in front of the fan village on Friday night.
Coach Scott Burns says he has an ‘unbelievable job’ working with both teams.
- For the players involved the squad has become ‘one big family’.
Prior to Friday’s game against Salford Red Devils, Wigan’s Physical Disability Rugby League (PDRL) and Learning Disability Rugby League (PDRL) teams trained at Robin Park Arena in front of the Warriors’ revamped fan village.
The event, that was part of the Club’s designated Armed Forces Day, was to showcase and hopefully encourage people with physical and learning disabilities to take part in the newly formed Wigan teams as well as stimulating interest from supporters.
Speaking about the event, Wigan Warriors PDRL Head Coach, Scott Burns, says that with the success of both teams this season it was good to give fans a glimpse of what they do.
“The physical disability team has been really competitive recently, whilst the learning disability Super League squad are undefeated this year, so we are more than happy to showcase it in front of a crowd,” said Burns.
“We would like the fans to get behind us because we have got two teams who are performing really well, so their support would be a bonus.
“They’ve played all over, including at the Magic Weekend at Anfield. Every time we hand out the shirts at the beginning of the games, the smiles on their faces are just as big as they are when we finish.”
Burns himself is finding his role as Head Coach as a catharsis for his own impairment, after going blind in one-eye, and he hailed his return to the sport via the PDRL format for helping him fall back in love with the game.
He revealed: “I’ve got a physical disability, I’m blind in one eye, so initially when I got back into rugby league, I wanted to play but I got the Head Coach job. There’s unbelievable job satisfaction; seeing the players getting the opportunities that I wanted in the first place and sharing it with the community.”
“There is nothing else like the inclusivity in rugby league. We are miles ahead of other governing bodies and the RFL is pushing it, as are the clubs.
“Going forward this season, the job is to keep the team enjoying what they are doing.”
Dominic Sharp who is one of LDRL players, has only recently started playing rugby for Wigan but he says he has loved being involved.
“It’s been a massive experience for me playing rugby. I’m very proud to play for Wigan and it has helped me.”
Fellow player, Lewis Wright, also emphasises the joy of playing for the Warriors and the benefits of being involved.
“It keeps me fit and it’s awesome to play as a team; I love rugby.
“You get a buzz from going and playing the games. We want to make it bigger and have more matches.”
Learning and Physical Disability Rugby League sessions take place every Friday 6 – 8pm, Central Park, Montrose Avenue, Wigan, WN5 9XL. New players always welcome! For more information contact Scott and the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.