Rugby League is an all-inclusive sport and there are opportunities for veterans and the whole family
Rugby League has programs for juniors, youth, those with physical disabilities, men, women, social, universities, school, primary, college, learning disability, masters, touch, tag, sky try, and wheelchair.
There are many opportunities within the sport of Rugby League including refereeing, sports trainer, coach, volunteer as well as playing, and we can help you find a veteran-friendly club in your area.
Wheelchair Rugby League is a highly inclusive adaptive version of the sport. There are wheelchair competitions right around Australia, providing an opportunity for friends and family to play sport with disabled loved ones with opportunities to represent your State and Country on the international stages.
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“You can’t underestimate the healing impact of sport – it got me out on the weekends, as I followed the kids to their sport after being freshly discharged, it expanded my scope of friends, creating connections in the community & helped me evolve back into a human after being a soldier for so long. You are creating common ground with people, whereas when I was in the army you are always hanging with your army mates, so when you leave the army you don’t have anything to talk about. You’ve got to find that common ground and sport was a bridge to create that new team environment – because you are part of a club, a team and you find a new core of friends.”
Partnering with Invictus Australia, the NRL developed the ‘Battlefields to FootyFields’ (B2F) program to encourage and support veterans to join the rugby league refereeing and sports trainer ranks.
Through the Battlefields to FootyFields program, veterans are trained to become accredited referees & sport trainers and are supported throughout their journey – from officiating local club matches to higher honours. There are also opportunities for veterans with physical impairments to join the program as mentors.
For more information about Battlefields to Footy Fields you can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org
Troy’s a member of his local rugby league refereeing association and was introduced to refereeing as part of the NRL’s innovative ‘Battlefields to Footy Fields’ program. He can’t speak highly enough of the program, the NRL’s refereeing team and what it’s done for him.
“I would never have done refereeing if it wasn’t for the program,” says Troy. “I’d been struggling with mental health for a while. They’d started Battlefields to Footy Fields. One of my uncles is a referee and he mentioned it to me. I wasn’t really that keen. Just dealing with people… I wasn’t really that comfortable with it at the time. He sort of talked me into it so I ended up doing it.”
Despite the challenges of being a new referee, Troy stuck with it and credits the program with giving him confidence and in helping him fit back into community life.
“I think that was probably half the reason why I was having half my problems – because I just couldn’t find where I fitted into society. That was just taking its toll on me. I’d been in and out of hospital a few times. Refereeing gets you out of the house and active.”
“I wouldn’t have done half the things I’ve been doing in the last 18 months if it wasn’t for the NRL.”