Queensland’s Paralympic State Team coaches have praised the inspiring togetherness which motivated the state’s Bronze Medal effort at the National Paralympic 7-a-side Football Championships.
Goals from Robbie Christie and Angus MacGregor helped Queensland overcome the Combined States team 2-1 in Sunday’s final match to finish third at Valentine Sports Park in Sydney.
The squad’s resilience was typified by captain Jarrod Larkins-Law playing the entire tournament with a calf tear sustained in the opening game.
Coach Jay Larkins praised the squad’s exceptional determination, with inspiration even drawn from the achievements of their opposition.
“It was in between the ears for us. It’s difficult going to a nationals with only eight people but we kept on digging,” Larkins said.
“The biggest positive of the tournament was the involvement of the Combined States team.
“That was reintroduced for this year and it was very successful.”
Football Queensland Women’s & Inclusive Football Development Officer Sarah Willington travelled with the team for the first time as an assistant coach and was amazed by the collective spirit.
“It was like being part of a family. Everyone supported everyone,” Willington said.
“We had the least amount of subs so by the end of the week there were some very tired tired legs.
“‘But the heart and determination they had in what was a ‘Grand Final’ for us got them over the line.
“They just did not give up for that entire 60 minutes. They pretty much collapsed at the end of it!”
Willington said Football Queensland would continue to support the Paralympic program in seeking to provide opportunities for players.
“Widening the player pool is a big thing. We’ve realised there are quite a few players who would be eligible within the system,” she said.
“It’s about getting hold of them and letting them know there is an opportunity for them to represent their state and maybe even their country through playing the sport they love.”