In a new written series, we want to delve deeper into why our participants love Disability Rugby League. Over the past few years, our sides have gone from strength to strength, playing a curtain-raiser at both Old Trafford and Anfield, while we watched three of our PD participants embark on a trip of a lifetime to Australia, shown exclusively on Amazon Prime.
Please see our next Q&A with LDSL player Lauren Fleming…
How would you explain your love for PDRL?
It’s amazing to see so many people with different abilities, including my teammates, which makes us realise how lucky we are to be able to play the sport we love. I also love the idea of festivals, seeing the other Learning Disability Rugby League teams and participants with smiles on their faces says everything.
How did you get in PDRL? – What is your journey?
My brother had a PDRL game before the Challenge Cup game between Warrington and Toronto in 2018. At half-time of that fixture, Wakefield LDRL played Leeds, and I was interested, so I messaged Craig Shepherd for more information. The following week, I attended training and loved it! Ever since then, I have been obsessed.
How has the sport impacted your life, personally?
It has had a massive impact on my life, personally, because I have met and played against people of similar disabilities as me. I have also made some friends for life!
How did your affiliation with Wakefield Trinity come about?
I have followed Wakefield Trinity for a few years, and when I heard about Learning Disability Rugby League, I jumped at the chance to play under the name of Wakefield.
I know that LDSL is a family affair – with your Dad now as Team Manager – has the sport brought your family closer together?
Sometimes it is all we talk about as a family when there is nothing on TV! I was over the moon when found out [my Dad] was going to be the team manager because I knew that everything would change for the best.
Are there any memories or times you look back with fondness or pride?
Playing at half-time of the Magic Weekend in May 2019 in front of loads of fans from different Super League clubs was one of the best experiences I have ever had.
The Rugby League Disability set-up has gone from strength to strength in recent years – what is the next step?
After I watched the PDRL side play in the Grand Final in September, it would be a dream come true to play in something similar as part of the LDRL side.