Teams ready to go at 2019 GIO Wheelchair Rugby National Championship

Almost a hundred professional wheelchair athletes will compete at the 2019 GIO Wheelchair Rugby National Championship next week, which takes place at Sydney Olympic Park from Friday June 28th-Sunday 30th.

Six sides will be taking part, bringing together the finest players from both Australia and New Zealand. Reigning champions Queensland Cyclones are back to defend their title, alongside state rivals Queensland Tornadoes, and interstate rivals, GIO New South Wales Gladiators – who have Australian Steelers captain Ryley Batt in their ranks.

The garden state will be represented by the Victoria Protect Thunder, while the AAMI South Australia Sharks return to the competition for the first time since 2015, and they will also bring world-renowned stars in the shape of Andrew Edmonson (Australian Steelers), and Hayden Barton-Cootes (New Zealand Wheel Blacks).

GIO IWRF WRWC 2018 Day One Matches - Australia v New Zealand

The New Zealand Wheel Blacks perform the haka at the 2018 IWRF Wheelchair Rugby Championships

Barton-Cootes’ compatriots from across the Tasman, will also travel with a full line-up including Cameron Leslie, Tyler Jennings and Gavin Rolton.

“This is a rare opportunity for fans to witness the best athletes from Australia and New Zealand go head to head,” says Wheelchair Rugby Australia’s General Manager Chris Nay.

“It’s the only full-contact wheelchair sport, making it a ferocious game to watch and one that captivates crowds. Interest in Wheelchair Rugby has boomed across the country following the 2018 Invictus Games, so we’re expecting to see a great turn out.”

The six teams will arrive off the back of some intensive training regimes, and all are keen to put themselves in the frame with selection for the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo not far away.

Entry to all four days of the championship is free, and all games will be streamed live on



Friday June 28
10:00 – Opening Ceremony
11:00 – GIO NSW Gladiators v Queensland Cyclones
12:45 – AAMI SA Sharks v Suncorp Queensland Tornadoes
14:30 – Victoria Protect Thunder v Vero New Zealand Wheel Blacks
16:15 – Queensland Cyclones v Suncorp Queensland Tornadoes
18:00 – Vero New Zealand Wheel Blacks v GIO NSW Gladiators
19:45 – AAMI SA Sharks v Victoria Protect Thunder

Saturday June 29
09:30 – Queensland Cyclones v AAMI SA Sharks
11:15 – Suncorp Queensland Tornadoes v Vero New Zealand Wheel Blacks
13:00 – Victoria Protect Thunder v GIO NSW Gladiators
14:45 – Vero New Zealand Wheel Blacks v Queensland Cyclones
16:30 – Suncorp Queensland Tornadoes v Victoria Protect Thunder
18:15 – GIO NSW Gladiators v AAMI SA Sharks

Sunday June 30
09:00 – Queensland Cyclones v Victoria Protect Thunder
10:30 – GIO NSW Gladiators v Suncorp Queensland Tornadoes
12:00 – AAMI SA Sharks v Vero New Zealand Wheel Blacks
14:00 – Bronze Medal Match
15:30 – Gold Medal Match
17:00 – Medal Presentation

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