Story by Tasmyn Haynes
All eyes will be on South Australia at the Invacare 2019 Invacare Wheelchair Aussie Rules National Carnival as they chase their fourth consecutive victory in the annual tournament, this time with the advantage of playing on home soil for the first time.
The South Australian side have always displayed talent, exemplary teamwork and passion at previous National Carnivals, a combination which has seen them victorious since its inception in 2016. Each athlete selected contributes to the diverse age group of the team, with the youngest national player being 17–year–old Brodie Healy. However, Brodie is far from a rookie, he made his debut at the National Carnival for South Australia at age 14 and his admiration for the game started early on in life.
“I loved footy ever since I was 6 years old and watching my brother play, I always wanted something that I could play.”
After being questioned about whether he felt intimidated by his youth in the team setting, Brodie responded, “I’m still pretty passionate so it doesn’t really bother me much, I still pull them into line. My leadership has improved over the years so I’m able to say what I want.”
It is clear to see the growing popularity of the sport, as Brodie is not the youngest participant of Wheelchair Aussie Rules in South Australia. The state’s social games have welcomed players as young at 12-years-old who are also getting an opportunity to train with the National side.
“There’s more awareness of it [Wheelchair Aussie Rules], we have a few juniors and their families that come out and train. I can see it taking off in SA that’s for sure.” Brodie confirms.
“I would have liked to do more intensive training earlier, but with the juniors you don’t want to exclude them from training.”
Despite this delay in team practice, the South Australian side are a well-oiled machine that showcase experience and athleticism in their style of play.
“There’s not too much set structure but we have good team collaboration, so we’ll be alright offensively.”
“She’ll be right if we play as a team. We are pretty quick on the fast break and have good chair speed.”
When asked if he was nervous for the National Carnival and to be playing on his home court Brodie was confident in saying, “It does add a little bit more pressure because I know there is a fair few people who will come out but I’m sure we’ll be alright.”
“We haven’t really lost much before, so if we lose this year, I don’t know how I’ll take it, but I’m sure the other state will deserve it.”
Brodie has a positive attitude about the team’s chances and although the thought of losing is far from his mind, he has pinpointed the Victorian team as the biggest competition for the carnival.
“They’ve got an established league and are pretty much playing all year round so their skill level would have developed further from other years. They have so many players that tried out for their national side which would have made their competition a lot stronger at training, whereas we didn’t really have a massive selection process like other states.”
A lot of pressure is put on the South Australian team as they are looking to secure the national title for the fourth time with a home court advantage at the Invacare 2019 Wheelchair Aussie Rules National Carnival. However, the support and confidence given from locals and a large expected crowd is sure to keep their internal fire roaring.
Catch the South Australian team in action live at St Clair Recreation Centre, Woodville SA from Thursday 11 – Saturday 13 April and to view the schedule for the event, click here.
If you are can’t attend in person, watch the livestream broadcast of the Carnival on the link below: https://www.facebook.com/DisabilitySportsAus/
For more information, please contact Chris Nay on:
M: +61 405 036 727