Tigers’ Director of Rugby Jon Wells, alongside players Peter Mata’utia and Suaia Matagi hopped on to the call for a special Q&A with the Tigers LDRL to discuss all manner of topics: From who would win a game of Learning Disability Rugby League – The Tigers First Team or the Tigers LDRL team, to important life advice that they would pass onto others!
Elsewhere, the LDRL team enjoyed hearing about the opportunities of playing with (and against!) friends and family on the rugby pitch with Pete lining up to play against his brother Sione when the Tigers face St Helens, and Suaia being reunited with his fellow teammate at Huddersfield, Jordan Turner.
Learning Disability Rugby League has gone on to greater and greater heights in the past few years, with the Tigers LDRL team getting to play at Anfield at Super League’s magic weekend in 2019 and set for fantastic volunteering roles at RLWC 2021. Jon Wells was able to reflect on one of the game’s recent developments which has helped make the game even more inclusive:
“The game has changed massively, I retired 10 years ago and since then the change has been phenomenal: The advent of physical disability rugby league, wheelchair rugby league, and of course LDRL are all widening the banner for inclusivity.”
“It doesn’t matter what your skin colour is you have, what background you’re from, what your physical and mental capabilities are or are not, this is a game for everybody.”
With training for LDRL sides not currently permitted under the Government’s Coronavirus guidelines, the huge impact of these Zoom sessions for the LDRL players during a difficult time has been summed up best by Laird Stainburn, father of LDRL player Kenneth, who had this to say:
“Many people do not realise that the majority of people with learning difficulties have been hit far harder by the seclusion caused by Covid-19 than by the actual virus itself, I know it has been hard for everyone, but even more so for people with LD.”
“I personally would like to thank Mat for helping to put these fortnightly Zoom meetings on for the LDRL team. After the initial meeting we saw a glimmer of hope and Kenneth has kept talking about what would happen next and trying to guess who may pop into the meetings and after tonight the glint in his eyes were a pleasure to see and he cannot wait for the next meeting!”
“A further thank you to Mat, Rob, Carl & many others, especially our guest stars, for tonight’s great meeting, this is the beginning and the platform that is needed for us all with the Foundation and the club to prove that people do care.”