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2023 Wheelchair Rugby National League: Melbourne Invitational Recap

Round 1 of the 2023 Wheelchair Rugby National League (WRNL) Season has concluded, and it was a weekend that was filled to the brim with action.

Six teams made their way to Cobblebank Stadium, fighting to start off their campaign with a victory in the Melbourne Invitational.

At the end of the first round, the University of Queensland have topped the overall ladder, winning all five of their games to start the season off strongly.

Melbourne Rugby Club are hot on their tails though, securing four wins throughout the invitational with the only loss of the tournament so far coming against the aforementioned team that sits above them.

Box Hill RUFC performed well, but struggled with results in a tough start to their campaign. They sit in fifth place after securing just one win against Sydney University, who will enter the second round in the spot below them.

Speaking to Disability Sport & Recreation, Box Hill captain/coach Andrew Harrison spoke about the team’s difficult start, but also highlighted its strengths.

“There were a few ups and downs with the team. We struggled in a few areas but we also were able to work together well and when we did work well together, we got a lot of turnovers and we were able to sort of run the game how we wanted to play it,” he said.

Box Hill RUFC Captain/Coach Andrew Harrison

Andrew also mentioned the quality of the competition as a whole, and how good it felt to be on the court with the other players and teams.

“The competition itself went off without a hitch. It was certainly a highlight for the start of the national league, to kick it off in Melbourne.”
“Getting on the court with all the players is always a good bit of fun. We get in there, we get serious, but we can also have a bit of a laugh and just enjoy playing wheelchair rugby,” he explained.

With Round 2 coming up in Brisbane, Andrew believes that the competition will once again be tough, but he is still excited to get back onto the court.

“When you’re travelling interstate, it can [take] a bit of a toll on the body, with the amount of travelling we have to do with all the equipment and stuff like that. But I think the two Melbourne teams will really try and go one step further and push it a little harder,” he said.
“Brisbane is always a well-run round and I’m really looking forward to getting up there, getting back on the court, and getting a couple of wins under the belt.”

A big thank you goes out to referees, officials, volunteers, and everyone else who worked together to make the Melbourne Invitational a huge success.

The WRNL Season will continue with the Brisbane Bash, between March 31st and April 2nd. It will then conclude with the Sydney Slam, taking place between the 22nd and 24th of April.

Click here to see the overall ladder heading into Round 2:


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