5th April 2019, 14:13 | wheelchair
Hull Wheelchair RL and Soldiers League Charity have played an instrumental role in forming a brand-new Army Wheelchair team.
A combination of players from the Soldiers Wheelchair League and Hull Wheelchair RL have come together to form the brand-new Army Wheelchair team, thanks to Hull's donation of equipment and facilities.
The new Army club played their first-ever game against Hull at the Bonus Youth Performance Centre earlier this year, using equipment donated by the club, such as wheelchairs and safety equipment.
Members of the military from all corners of the country came to Hull to play for the Army side, with a view to develop in the next couple of years, in time for some players to potentially represent their countries at the 2021 Rugby League Wheelchair World Cup.
England Wheelchair coaches were in Hull for the game, keeping a close eye on both sides' players to potentially scout some international picks.
Also in attendance at the game were first team players Albert Kelly, Danny Washbrook and Mickey Paea, who were showing their support for the wheelchair teams.
This is on top of captain Danny Houghton and vice-captain Scott Taylor taking part in a wheelchair game with Hull during the filming of DIY SOS last April, which aired on BBC One on Wednesday evening.
Following a promising debut for the Army side, Hull are now looking at helping establish RAF and Navy teams in the future.
Hull, who ply their trade in the Wheelchair RL Championship alongside the likes of Bradford, Rochdale, Dundee and North Wales, are gearing up for their second game of the season this Saturday against North Wales Crusaders at the Bonus Youth Performance Centre (11:00am kick-off).
Hull Wheelchair won their first fixture of the season a fortnight ago, defeating Medway Wheelchair 72-12.
Coach of Hull Wheelchair RL Mike Swainger also plays for the local club and he said: "We have given some of our equipment to Army Wheelchair RL to help them get up and running and they gave us a run for our money in their first game."
"It would be great to see RAF and Navy teams get up and running, following in the footsteps the Army team, and we’d be more than happy to help out.
"Wheelchair RL is growing and always looking for new players. It is an inclusive sport played by all abilities and the club are also trying to develop a junior team."
Hull FC Captain Danny Houghton said: "When we went down to the game that was shown on DIY SOS, it was actually really moving to see the smiles that were put on these people's faces, and that just shows what Rugby League and Wheelchair Rugby League can do."
"I often see wheelchair Rugby League when I'm scrolling down social media and it's great to see that it seems to be growing.
"For Hull to help form a new Army team just shows the commitment there is to try and grow wheelchair Rugby League."