Wheelchair League

2021 Novita SANFL Wheelchair Football League Grand Final Preview

By ALEXANDRA BULL

The inaugural Novita SANFL Wheelchair Football League Grand Final will be contested by an undefeated Sturt and Norwood at The Lights Community and Sports Centre on Friday from 7pm.

The Double Blues have won two out of their three games against the Redlegs convincingly, with the closest margin between the two teams being 10 points in round three.

Woodville-West Torrens and Central District will take to the field in the third place playoff at 6pm, with the Bulldogs yet to beat the Eagles this year.

The Novita SANFL Wheelchair Football League is the first of its kind in South Australia.

Norwood captain, Grant Leonard, who also represented South Australia at the latest Wheelchair Aussie Rules National Carnival, said that his team is really excited for the upcoming challenge.

“Being the inaugural grand final, it was our biggest goal from the start of the year to make it here,” Leonard said.

“It’s an honour be captain of the team and show some leadership within the team we have.

“It’s really enjoyable to work with the team and strive to be a better group.

“For this sport to come along and having the chance to represent clubs you have supported since you were a kid, it is really special.”

Norwood captain Grant Leonard streaks away with the ball.

“The passion that everyone has for not only the game, but the clubs is unbelievable, it’s really heart-warming.”

Sturt captain Steven Avery

Sturt captain Steven Avery has been playing wheelchair sports since 2017 and represented Australia in wheelchair basketball at the 2018 Invictus Games, said he is looking forward to seeing supporters from all four clubs come together in one place.

“Being able to come out and see all people of all abilities and disabilities, it’s fantastic,” Avery said.

“For people who have always loved footy but have never had the chance to play, now they get that opportunity to represent clubs they have supported all their lives.

“The passion that everyone has for not only the game, but the clubs is unbelievable, it’s really heart-warming.”

Played on a basketball court with goal posts at either end, Wheelchair Football involves teams of five facing off against each other with two defenders, two forwards and one midfielder.

A handball in Wheelchair Football is equivalent of a ‘kick’ and an underarm throw equates to a ‘handball’ as per regular Australian Football rules.

Novita provides rehabilitation, therapy, early intervention, community inclusion, assistive technology and disability services to people living with disability, as well as support for their families and carers.

Wheelchair Football in SA is also being supported by the Federal Government’s Department of Social Services.