How comedy star and TV presenter Adam Hills lived his ‘childhood dream’ by playing for Australia in the Rugby League World Cup
Australian TV presenter and sitcom star Adam Hills has praised the organizers for allowing him to live out his “childhood dream” at the first ever Rugby League for the Physically Handicapped. [PDRL] World Cup in England.
There has been a lot of attention on the men’s World Cup, but PDRL is a new category that also includes wheelchair rugby league.
England’s PDRL team defeated New Zealand for the title at Warrington Wolves’ Halliwell Jones Stadium after winning against other competing nations including Australia and Wales.
The final was played after the men’s match between Samoa and France and many spectators stayed on the pitch to watch the inaugural final, which England won after four grueling matches in eight days.
Hills, 52, is best known for his roles as a comedian, radio and television host on shows like Spicks and Specks and The Last Leg.
The Logie Award winner, who was born without a right foot, made his international rugby league debut for Australia at the tournament and praised the organizers and supporters for making it a success.
“It’s a great day for disabled rugby league,” he said.
Australia’s Adam Hills runs with the ball during the Physically Handicapped Rugby League World Cup 3rd/4th play-off between Wales and Australia
‘I am not surprised that we have had a PDRL World Cup, I am surprised how well attended, how well covered, how well broadcast it is.
‘I didn’t expect it to be so big. I never thought I would represent Australia, I never thought I would wear the green and gold.
“It has given me the opportunity to fulfill a childhood dream and it has given me, no matter how many, 40, 60 participants, 80 I think rugby league players, the opportunity to represent their country.
“So it’s been huge.”
Launching the tournament, Hills praised English Super League side Warrington Wolves for defending the PDRL World Cup and called for the momentum to continue at the next World Cup in France in 2025.
He said: ‘Warrington has been amazing, the Warrington Wolves were the first foundation to establish a Physical Disability Rugby League team in the UK, but more importantly than that they were the first team to WANNA establish a PDRL team in the United Kingdom. .
‘For me this is the perfect town to have started this path, and to have the first PDRL Men’s World Cup.
‘All of this won’t mean a thing [however] if we don’t have another one in three years at the World Cup in France. This is going to be amazing, this is going to be great, but we have to follow through, we have to make sure we make it bigger and better.
The Australian Rugby League for the Physically Handicapped [PDRL] The World Cup team gathers in Sydney ahead of the tournament being played in England
George Tonna is the Australian coach and founder of the PDRL in Australia and said sharing stories with the other athletes had been the highlight of the tournament.
“It’s a sport for everyone and an honor and a privilege to be here… I play against all these guys knowing they have the same story as me,” he said.
England head coach and former England Rugby League player Shaun Briscoe said: “You can put on a great show, whatever disability you have.” It’s about ability, not disability.