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17 August 2013

Cyclones Crowned 2013 Australian National Champions

In an action packed 2013 GIO National Wheelchair Rugby Championships (NWRC), the Suncorp QLD Cyclones arose victorious and claimed their second NWRC Title also being the champions in 2012.Tournament runners-up Victoria Protect Thunder played valiantly and were strong opponents but only one team could go on to win the cup and in the end QLD proved worthy Champions.


Captain Ben Newton was ecstatic with the win, “It’s a fantastic experience to win this year’s National Championships. Our team worked very hard throughout the last two tournaments to prepare for the nationals and our dedication has paid off. Our team performed at their best during the finals games when we needed to step up a level which was great. Our defence was solid throughout and we followed through by consistently scoring points. Victoria was in top form and a difficult team to beat. Playing against such formidable opposition makes us even more proud to have won the Championship Title. It’s a great finish to the 2013 season.”


All five teams fought valiantly at the 2013 NWRC, with many a rummage during the tournament. It could have been anyone’s victory with a fantastic line up from all involved which made the tournament unpredictable and all the more exciting.


Even though the Suncorp QLD Cyclones were not considered favourites for the tournament, this did not stop their thirst for success when they took out the Grand Final in a decisive 63 - 48 win against Victoria Protect Thunder. The team was determined that 2013 was going to be another great year and arose victorious through tight teamwork and strategic plays. Chris Bond, this season’s Most Trusted Player was exceptional, constantly breaking through the opposition’s defence and taking the ball across the goal line.


Runners-up Victoria Protect Thunder were perennial underdogs for the tournament, with the big three NSW, QLD and NZ favourites to lift the title. Regardless, this is a side who earnt their way into the Grand Final with on court talent such as Josh Hose, Jason Ellery and Matt Ingram all leading the line. This power team taught their previous competitors a few new tricks and the meaning of aggressive defence defeating the GIO NSW Gladiators in the semi final.


Overall, it was a superb Grand Final with the final score not being indicative of the close quarters that were played. Even though NSW was the home team the QLD contingent had a strong support base and it felt like a home crowd. Credit must go to both teams for not only a great game, but also great sportsmanship in the manner the game was played.


If this event was big on its own it was enhanced by the support of a true Rugby Union legend in the shape of Stirling Mortlock. As the ambassador Sterling was everywhere playing in the exhibition game, doing guest commentary and also raffling off a Wallabies jersey. “It’s great for me to be the ambassador for the 2013 GIO NWRC. This is truly a unique event which takes the physicality levels to new heights. I played rugby union for 15 years at the highest level but wheelchair rugby is just as tough. Congratulations to all teams for a great tournament”.


The Bronze Medal match was a tough dual between Vero New Zealand Te Waka Hou and the GIO NSW Gladiators. Without the leadership of Ryley Batt, players such as Curtis Palmer and rookie Andrew Holloway fought valiantly to close the gap with the power and pace of Barney Konerferisi and the goal scoring acumen of Dan Buckingham. In the end though New Zealand broke to a clear lead in the last quarter of play and finished the match with a decisive win 62 – 40.


The League Executive acknowledges the 2013 NWRC sponsors, the Australian Sports Commission and GIO for their support, and gratitude to hosting organisation Wheelchair Sports NSW. Due to GIO’s generous support the 2013 NWRC was able to be hosted at the internationally esteemed Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre and broadcasted live via web. The 2013 Championships will be replayed through Aurora Community Channel on Foxtel in coming weeks.


GIO’s commitment to wheelchair rugby and a number of other Wheelchair Sports NSW programs has resulted in the hosting of international and national disability sporting events of the highest quality and this National Championships has been no different.“Congratulations to all the teams for a brilliant 2013 National Wheelchair Rugby Championships. Special thanks to all the players, coaches, officials and volunteers who make wheelchair rugby in Australia possible. It has been a marvellous finish and we’re looking forward to an amazing 2014 season.” Matt Kayrooz, Executive Manager, GIO CTP Portfolio.


GIO National Wheelchair Rugby Championships Results


Semi Final 1

Suncorp QLD Cyclones



Vero New Zealand Te Waka Hou


Semi Final 2

Victoria Protect Thunder



GIO NSW Gladiators


Bronze Medal

Vero New Zealand Te Waka Hou



GIO NSW Gladiators


Gold Medal

Suncorp QLD Cyclones



Victoria Protect Thunder



2013 NWRC Awards


2013 NWRC Champions

Suncorp QLD Cyclones

2013 NWRC 2nd Place

Victoria Protect Thunder

2013 NWRC 3rd Place

GIO NSW Gladiators

2013 NWRC Best Referee

Terry Vinyard

2013 NWRC GIO Most Trusted Player

Chris Bond - Suncorp QLD Cyclones

Barney Konerferisi - Vero New Zealand Te Waka Hou

2013 NWRC Best New Talent

Daniel Holt – GIO NSW Gladiators

2013 NWRC All Star Four

Chris Bond - Suncorp QLD Cyclones

Ryley Batt – GIO NSW Gladiators

Naz Erdin – Victoria Protect Thunder

Gavin Rolton – Vero New Zealand Te Waka Hou

The Sir Ludwig Guttman Award

Darryl Wingard