Reigning champions Queensland will field two teams at the IDPwD Australian Powerchair Football Association National Championships, kicking off at Brisbane State High School tomorrow.
The Queensland Cyclones and the Queensland Barbarians will take on teams from New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia, as well as two teams from New Zealand in the national tournament which will be held in Queensland for the first time.
The competition will also see the two Queensland sides go head-to-head as they aim to defend Queensland’s title as national champions.
Queensland Powerchair Football Association Secretary and Queensland Cyclones player Tristram Peters said he and his teammates pride themselves on their preparation leading into big games, and these national championships were no different.
“We want to do everything we can to ensure we’re in the best place possible to win the title,” Peters said.
“In many ways, except for the powerchairs obviously, we’re just like football and futsal, and that’s why we love the sport.
“We do skills training, set-piece training, scrimmages, while we’re always dissecting videos of past performances; we live and breathe the sport.”
Last year’s Grand Final saw Queensland come out triumphant over New South Wales, defeating their interstate rivals 5-3 in an extra time nail-biter.
Peters acknowledged the exciting nature of each battle between the two states, but said every team in the competition will provide a unique challenge to the Queensland sides.
“We can’t wait to play against every side, as the sport in Australia and New Zealand has had such amazing growth recently, and each contest is going to be fiercely fought,” he said.
As well as the national title at stake, the tournament could also provide a stepping stone to national team selection for some of the players.
Peters said that while being chosen for the Australian Poweroos, the national Powerchair Football team, would be an honour for every player in Australia, their main focus will be on the immediate challenge ahead of them.
“I think everyone will be focusing solely on the championships and helping their teams chase that title,” Peters said.
“We want to see our teams succeed, and we’re all such amazing mates off the court too, that our priority is definitely the title first.
“All we can do is give it our absolute best.”
The IDPwD Australian Powerchair Football Association National Championship will run from Tuesday, 25 September to Saturday, 29 September and every game will be streamed live on the Queensland Powerchair Football Association Facebook page.
Tuesday, 25 September
Queensland Cyclones v New South Wales, 10.15am
New South Wales v Queensland Barbarians, 1.15pm
Kiwi Red v Queensland Cyclones, 2.15pm
Wednesday, 26 September
Queensland Barbarians v Kiwi Green, 11.00am
Queensland Cyclones v Victoria, 1.00pm
Kiwi Red v Queensland Barbarians, 2.00pm
Thursday, 27 September
Queensland Barbarians v Western Australia, 10.00am
Queensland Cyclones v Western Australia, 12.00pm
Kiwi Green v Queensland Cyclones, 2.00pm
Victoria v Queensland Barbarians, 3.00pm
Friday, 28 September
Queensland Barbarians v Queensland Cyclones, 11.00am
Saturday, 29 September
Finals (to be announced Friday)
Queensland Cyclones team
2. Tristram Peters
5. Tom Dickson
6. Josh Merkas
7. Jack Gillespie
9. Tom Latcham
11. Bryce Castles
Queensland Barbarians team
3. Mark Warren
9. Darcy Clews
10. Jack Perry
11. Kevin Pretorius
18. Zac Burley
45. Sam Uchytil
Words: Elizabeth Lepre
Image: Queensland Powerchair Football Association