Smith tags along to Wheelchair Rugby League Session
By Nate Williams
England Rugby League International Lee Smith participated in a new and exciting game this week when he visited the Leeds Rhinos Wheelchair Rugby League team at Morley Leisure Centre.
Wheelchair Tag Rugby League is an all-inclusive sport for able-bodied and disabled people, which apply the same rules as a 13-a-side game with adaptations made for wheelchair users.
Leeds Centre, Smith is an accomplished player scoring 56 tries in over 100 appearances for the Rhinos including three consecutive grand finals. He said the wheelchair game was a lot more challenging than he’s used to:
“It was really different, really fast and some of the collisions were really scary. To actually give it a go was really good and I enjoyed myself.”
The wheelchair game is played in teams of five and tackles are made by removing opponent’s tags from their shoulders. When tries are scored, they are converted by punching the ball over the posts using an extended post to position the ball at chair height.
The newly formed club were given full support from Leeds Rhinos and Spider- Y, which is a registered charity that promotes inclusion and awareness in disabled sport around Yorkshire.
Chairman Andy Gardner said: “We’ve been looking to expand Spider-Y which is a registered charity in Leeds that puts on road shows and events to demonstrate how to use wheelchairs and play wheelchair sports.”
He added “Leeds Rhinos have been really great. They’ve give us their branding and about twenty of their shirts for next season when we start competing. There is also the possibility of funding for new chairs so more people can get involved. It’s just fantastic.”
Next season, the club could be a new addition to the WRLA Super League competing against teams from Halifax, Wigan, Wolverhampton, Bury and Merseyside.