It was the time of year again where Powerchair Athletes across Australia competed in the National Electric Wheelchair Sports competition. It ran from the 13th to the 20th of April with some intense days of competition concluding with the finals on Good Friday. The Victorian Pride Warriors team consisted of:
- Michael Murdaca (126 Games)
- Jules North-Coombes (173 Games)
- Luke David (218 Games)
- Shaun Mott (36 Games)
- Daniel Maugeri (83 Games)
- Josh Rycken (113 Games)
Assistant Coach: Rebecca Gulle
The squad also consisted of two emergencies; Craig Kilby and Julia Svaganovic. The team arrived on the 13th and the 14th and were ready to go for Day 1 of competition.
Day 1 | Powerchair Football
Day 1 saw the first ever game of Powerchair Football at N.E.W.S in its 34-year history. Victoria played its first game against the Western Wasps which was a hard fought game for both teams. The Wasps managed to score early into the second half to take a 1-0 lead. The Victorians tried their hardest to score an equaliser and had most of the play but they couldn’t get a goal on the board with the Western Australians holding on to win by a goal. In the second game we took on the South Australian Scorpions and much like the first game it was hard and intense. Neither team could score a goal, before a controversial call gave the Victorians the lead late in the game. After a lengthy discussion the goal was overturned and the scores remained 0-0. While disappointed, it appeared the right decision was made as both teams were happy for the disallowed goal. It then ended in a 0-0 draw. Our final match of the day was against the favourites in New South Wales. The Strikers managed to gain a 2-0 lead early in the game through some great plays. The game took a bit of a turn as the Victorians became more attacking to try and get back into the game. The second half saw the Warriors have most of the control as they kept pushing and pushing. Unable to get a goal back, the Warriors ended the day with a 2-0 loss. Although disappointed not to get a win on the first day of competition, the Victorians took a lot out of it and were confident of getting a win in the 3rd place playoff in the finals against Western Australia.
WA 1 def. VIC 0
VIC 0 drew. SA 0
NSW 2 def. VIC 0
Day 2 | Powerchair Hockey
The second day was Powerchair Hockey, the sport that many of the Victorian players love to play. It started off with a dominant display against the South Australian Scorpions. It was a rocky start with the Scorpions able to score the first goal of the game against the run of play. From there the Warriors took control and never looked back. Some awesome blocking and great shooting saw the Warriors score the next seven goals to take their first win of the competition. Next up the Warriors took on the Strikers. A very early goal saw the Warriors take the lead and from there were able to hold on. The Strikers made the Victorians work for every minute of the game and pushed them right to the end. Two late goals from the Warriors gave them a comfortable lead in the final few minutes. The margin may have been 3 goals but New South Wales were no easy opponents. The final game saw the Western Wasps come up against the undefeated Warriors. With a Grand Final spot already sealed and the Wasps desperate to make the final, the Victorians had a chance to check out a potential grand final opponent. A great start saw the Warriors jump out to a 2-0 lead. The Wasps then took control and managed to get one back, before the Warriors wrestled back the momentum and took complete control. Another 5 goals were to follow as the Victorians claimed another 7-1 victory. The Western Wasps managed to scrape through to the second grand final spot on goal difference.
VIC 7 def. SA 1
VIC 3 def. NSW 0
VIC 7 def. WA 1
Day 3 | Powerchair Rugby
The third day of competition was a very disappointing one for the Victorians as they were dismantled in all three games of Rugby League. The first game was a great opportunity to see where the team was at as they took on NSW. It was a horrible start as the Strikers capitalised on poor defence and made the most of the Warriors turnovers. It was much the same for the rest of the match as the Strikers ran away with a massive 44-0 win. In the second game the team was hopeful for a better showing but it was yet another disappointing display as the defence was no match for the Scorpions attack. The day went from bad to worse when a big tackle saw Luke David’s chair break down. The Warriors never looked like scoring for the second game in a row as the Scorpions took a comfortable 32-0 victory. The final game was against the Wasps who also missed out on the final. The Wasps jumped out to an early lead and it looked like another heavy loss was to follow for the Warriors. It appeared things weren’t going to get any better when the team was forced to play four players when another big knock forced another player to the sideline. A great act of sportsmanship followed as the Western Wasps decided to play only four players aswell. The second half saw Luke David return to the field and the game returned to a 5v5. Unfortunately, it didn’t change the outcome as the Western Wasps were able to take a 22-4 win to end a dark day for the Warriors.
NSW 44 def. VIC 0
SA 32 def. VIC 0
WA 22 def. VIC 4
Day 5 | Grand Finals
The big day had finally arrived with the Victorians aiming to win all three of their clashes with the Western Wasps. The first game was the 3rd place playoff for Powerchair Football. The team entered the game with a fresh line-up and different strategy. The Warriors had control for the majority of the game with an early goal to Josh Rycken gave the Warriors the lead and the momentum. It was much the same in the second half with Josh Rycken claiming his second goal which gave the Warriors a handy 2-0 lead. From there the Victorians kept up their attacking pressure while maintaining a strong defence. They held on to take out 3rd place for Powerchair Football with a 2-0 result.
Straight after it was the Powerchair Football Grand Final which saw a close contest as NSW won 1-0 against the Scorpions. The same two teams then competed for 3rd place in hockey with the strikers winning again 1-0. Next up it was the Grand Final. The Warriors took the favourites tag after a dominant Day 2 in Hockey. The Western Wasps came out with a heavier focus on defence and it showed as the Warriors were unable to find a goal in the first half. The intense game continued in the second half with both teams pushing to find a goal. The Warriors were able to hit the scoreboard after a Luke David shot finally got past the defence and the goalkeeper. The Warriors were desperate to gain a bigger lead but couldn’t find another. It then got into the final minutes and the Wasps were fighting hard to get an equaliser. They pushed the Victorians right to the end, and almost found a goal in the final 10 seconds but the keeper Michael Murdaca had other ideas. A 1-0 win gave the Victorians their second Powerchair Hockey title.
The team then had to put celebrations on hold to face the West Australians again in the 3rd place playoff for Rugby League. The team were confident they could turn the tide and claim a win. But it was much the same as the Wasps forced many gaps and created a number of try scoring opportunities. While it felt like the Warriors had improved, it was ultimately for very little as the Wasps managed to take a big 36-6 win to claim 3rd place. The final match of the day saw NSW win their 11th Rugby League title in a row as they beat SA Scorpions in a tight struggle 12-4. All in all, it was another great day as the attention turned to the dinner and presentation. A fun night was had as everyone got the chance to celebrate another successful week at N.E.W.S. It was then time to head home with many memories and aspirations for the future. Another successful week was had by all and we all can’t wait to come back again. For the Warriors we will celebrate our successes while also learning from our defeats with the aim to come back even better in 2020.
3rd Playoff Powerchair Football: VIC 2 def. WA 0
Grand Final Powerchair Hockey: VIC 1 def. WA 0
3rd Playoff Powerchair Rugby: WA 36 def. VIC 6
Victoria won the Powerchair Hockey Championship at NEWS for the second year in a row!
Thank you to our sponsors, Pride Mobility, Motion Wheelchairs and Support Your Way for your amazing support. Also to our support crew and carers who attended the week and helped our players participate. Congratulations to our Victorian team for a fantastic effort in all three sports. Congratulations to all participating teams and players. Thank you to all the organisers and volunteers who helped make this week what it was. See you all again in 2020!
Rugby League: New South Wales
Powerchair Football: New South Wales
Powerchair Hockey: Victoria
Roger Melnyk Trophy: New South Wales
Individual Victorian Awards:
Best & Fairest: Shaun Mott
Michael Baptiste Encouragement Award: Shaun Mott
All-Australian Selection: Luke David (Vice-Captain), Shaun Mott