Seven members of Wests Tigers Physical Disability Rugby League team will be competing in the upcoming Commonwealth Championships at Redcliffe Dolphins in Queensland between February 21 and 25.
George Tonna, Geoff Clarke and Mitch Gleeson will represent Australia in the tournament, Marco Quintao Snr, Marco Quintao and Allan Ross will represent the Commonwealth All Stars with Garry Kingi playing for New Zealand.
George Tonna, who last represented Australia at the Sydney 2000 Paralympics in soccer, said he was looking forward to playing for his country once again.
“It’s an honour to represent Australia again a sport that I love,” said Tonna. “To be recognised by the selectors that you deserve to be in that squad really makes me proud of the hard yards that I’ve put in to be a part of the team.
“My selection is dedicated to my family who are always there for me and my school teacher and first mentor Danny Hasler,” he said. “Danny passed away a couple of years ago with cancer and without his vision and guidance for me to be a part of a sport and a team environment I’d not be where I am today.”
Teammate Geoff Clarke has also had experience representing Australia at a Paralympic Games.
“It’s an absolute honour to represent Australia at the Commonwealth Championships in Rugby League, 22 years after competing for Australia in athletics at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games,” said Clarke.
Wests Tigers’ involvement will extend beyond the playing group with the club’s Community and Fan Engagement Manager Shaun Spence named as Head Coach of the Australian Physical Disability Rugby League Team.
Spence said it was great to see such a strong involvement from Wests Tigers.
“I’m proud of all of the players who have made these representative teams, but to see players picked from Wests Tigers adds to it,” said Spence. “I look forward to working with them all in the lead up to the tournament.”
Displaying the truly inclusive nature of physical disability rugby league, Marco Quintao Snr will be playing with his son, saying; “This will be one of my proudest moments. To run out with my son for the Commonwealth All Stars will be a great moment and we are looking forward to showcasing the event to the world.”