Australian rules football in South Australia will tonight embark on a new adventure as the Novita SANFL Wheelchair Football League officially begins it’s inaugural season in Adelaide.
It was announced in May that there will be four teams representing the traditional SANFL clubs in 2021; Sturt, Central District, Norwood and Woodville-West Torrens.
The competition – to be played at Lights Community and Sports Centre – begins on Friday night, with Sturt taking on Central District, followed by Norwood and the Eagles doing battle.
Played on a basketball court, the high-intensity sport features a handball as the equivalent to a ‘kick’, and an underarm throw the equivalent to a ‘handball’ as per traditional rules.
Teams of five – which can be made up of male and female as well as those with and without a disability – participate at any one time, featuring two forwards, two defenders and one midfielder.
Sturt Chief Executive Sue Dewing spoke to The Inner Sanctum about how the Unley based club were “very keen” to get involved when the SANFL first laid plans on the table.
“When this opportunity came up, we felt that it fit in with our social responsibility – which includes inclusiveness – and we really wanted to be a part of the inaugural competition,” she said.
“So we were really excited about it right from the beginning. We can’t just be about playing senior mens footy on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.”
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Whilst this new chapter is an invigorating one for the club, Dewing, who has been to every try out session so far, commented on the benefits already seen for those taking part.
“What I’m seeing at the moment is that certainly the positives for the participants is quite overwhelming,” she said.
“We’ve really embraced our players and got around them, so much so that they are engaging with the club virtually on a daily basis.
“What it’s provided is an opportunity for people to be part of a team and something to share with their family and friends.”
And Dewing admits her own delight in being able to learn throughout this process.
“It’s been a learning curve for me,” she said.
“In terms of their uniforms and things like that, you have to take into consideration if they’re going to be wanting to wear shorts or track pants, so those sorts of things have broadened my mind to the difficulties around some disabilities.
“And it’s not as easy as just rocking up and getting on the court, there seems to be a lot of other stuff that you have to think of to get out there.”
You can watch the inaugural Novita SANFL Wheelchair Football League matches, here.
Novita SANFL Wheelchair Football League
Sturt v Central District, The Lights Community and Sports Centre @ 6.30pm
Norwood vs Woodville-West Torrens, The Lights Community and Sports Centre @ 7.30pm
SANFL Statewide Super League Round 15
Saturday July 17
Glenelg v South Adelaide, ACH Group Stadium @ 1.35pm
Central District v Sturt, X Convenience Oval @ 2.10pm
Norwood v Woodville-West Torrens, Coopers Stadium @ 2.10pm
North Adelaide v Adelaide, Prospect Oval @ 2.10pm
Sunday July 18
West Adelaide v Port Adelaide, Hisense Arena @ 1.10pm
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