Australian Defence Force teams prepare for competition at the Invacare 2019 Wheelchair Aussie Rules National Carnival

Story by Tasmyn Haynes

The Invacare 2019 Wheelchair Aussie Rules National Carnival welcomes back the Australian Defence Force (ADF) teams who will take the court in Adelaide in the fourth instalment of the national carnival. Both ADF representative teams, ADF Blue and ADF White, consist of acting service men and women who use the Wheelchair Aussie Rules National Carnival as both a key rehabilitation program on the road to recovery and a competitive, team-based adaptive sport pathway.

Traditionally, the ADF teams bring a high energy and competitive spirit to the National Carnival but given that athletes are drawn from all over the country, the time spent together prior to the tournament is limited. Therefore, the early stages of the tournament have often seen ADF build their combinations before producing competitive results and a number of upset victories at the back end of the carnival.

Captain of one of the two 2018 ADF sides, Able Seaman Mark Daniels is very much looking forward to next month’s event in Adelaide and is still on a high after his recent success as a dual medallist at the 2018 Sydney Invictus Games in Wheelchair Rugby and Indoor Rowing.

“I've always enjoyed playing at the Wheelchair Aussie Rules National Carnival but will admit that I am quite nervous to play again given that I have had extended delays with Invictus Games. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to pick it up again.” he joked.

Able Seaman Mark Daniels competing at the 2018 Wheelchair Aussie Rules Nationals

Able Seaman Mark Daniels competing at the 2018 Wheelchair Aussie Rules Nationals

The ADF teams showcase a versatile group of athletes with a vast range of different disabilities, and who are all at varying stages of rehabilitation. Mark Daniels gives an insight into what this Defence squad offers not only to the competition but also to the representative athletes;

“In defence, some of us aren’t able to be involved in able bodied sports so this offers good exposure and it’s a good rehabilitation tool to experience what adapted sports are like.”

While Daniels admits the team’s biggest obstacle is inexperience, he points out that the diversity of disabilities lends itself to powering the team’s positive attributes with upper body strength and core work.

“I think we are all used to being adaptive and overcoming curveballs. We learn quickly and have good team work and mateship; so hopefully we will be able to come together as a team and pull up a win.”

When asked about the team’s greatest threat of the tournament, Mark didn’t hesitate to site Victoria.

“Considering the establishment of their new interstate league, I think they’ve had a lot of practice and gained experience which will definitely give them an advantage.”

The ADF teams will bring great intensity and passion to the Invacare 2019 Wheelchair Aussie Rules National Carnival. Catch them 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:

For more information, please contact Chris Nay on:

M: +61 405 036 727