Physical Disability RL
No individual is excluded from accessing Rugby League
What is PDRL?
Physical Disability Rugby League (PDRL) is a full contact version of the game adapted for participants with a physical disability who want to access a running version of Rugby League.
PDRL was initially developed in Australia by founder George Tonna. PDRL made its way over to the UK where Warrington Wolves and Leeds Rhinos played the first ever game of PDRL in the northern hemisphere in early 2018.
Notably since then, landmark events have taken place such as Warrington travelling to Australia to play and win in the first ever PDRL World Club Challenge. The fixture was inspired by comedian – and PDRL player – Adam Hills who is an integral part of the Warrington side and had always wanted to play for South Sydney Rabbitohs. Hills is a big advocate for PDRL bringing a documentary named ‘Adam Hills: Take His Legs’ to Channel 4 in 2019 which details Warrington’s trip Down Under.
PDRL is continuing to gain momentum in the UK, following the first full domestic season in 2019 and England Community Lions lifting the Rugby League World Cup in 2022.
How to Play
Domestic PDRL, in the UK, is played on a 50m X 100m pitch and is a nine-a-side version of Rugby League. Teams include a minimum of seven physically disabled players and two non-disabled players who act as facilitators, although this is not a prerequisite, during the game.
The game includes full contact tackles, but players who have a disability that restricts them from safely playing full contact are permitted to play Touch RL tackle rules. On the field these players are identified by wearing red shorts. There is a maximum of two physically disabled players on the field of play at any one-time playing Touch RL rules.
The overriding emphasis on domestic playing offers is creating a fun opportunity to make lasting memories and allow people with a wide range of impairments to benefit from all social impact aspects of RL.
Games are played in a festival format typically playing 2 games at a festival, each being 25 minutes in length.
Please see the full rule document at the bottom of this page.
Additionally, there are representative, both regional and international, within the PDRL landscape which have a higher level of governance from a disability perspective. This format differs in some rules within the sport, but predominantly differs in the form of disability classification and eligibility to play. Where there is a greater focus on outcome classification brings more equity to playing in that it aims to ensure similar levels of impairment are seen between teams and will ensure impairment level is not the major factor in determining outcome. This system is rigorous, robust, paralympic standard classification system. As seen and demonstrated at the PDRL Festival Of World Cups hosted in Warrington in 2022.
More information can be found below in attached documentation.