Two ex-Army team-mates are celebrating a State of Origin victory after the Construction Sciences Maroons successfully defended their title for the first time in history.
National military charity Bravery Trust partnered with Queensland Wheelchair Rugby League to bring the State of Origin to Townsville over the weekend.
The winning team included team-mates Pete Arbuckle and Zac Schumacher, who both served in the Army until medical discharge. Arbuckle was awarded player of the match. Both Arbuckle and Schumacher will represent Australia in England in October this year.
Bravery Trust CEO said the event showcased the determination and resilience of ADF veterans and all players.
“Our partnership with Queensland wheelchair Rugby League went beyond just the State of Origin events – by showcasing adaptive sports athletes as heroes and role models, and connecting with people who face their own challenges,” Ms Wilson said.
“Bravery Trust is a military charity that helps veterans in financial hardship to ensure they don’t fall through the gaps. But what we really do is let veterans be their best – showing resilience and valuing their skills and contribution to the community.”
This event showcased community support and teamwork – not just by the players on court, it’s the volunteers, the families and the supporters and everyone who made this event such as a success.”
The State or Origin event was livestreamed by Queensland Rugby league and New South Wales Rugby league to more than 200,000 followers and also streamed on QPlus.TV.
Ms Wilson said the Townsville community embraced the event.
“We know Townsville has more current and ex-serving members of the ADF than any other Australian region. Around 1 in 6 households have a member that is or has served in the ADF compared to around 1 in 20 across the nation.
“Its so important to showcase the amazing achievements our veterans and be proud of their service. It was great to see the community get behind our veterans who were representing the Maroons.”
Ms Wilson said 70% of those who reach out to Bravery Trust are under 50 years of age.
“Sometimes there are unforeseen circumstances, namely illness or injury, and that’s where Bravery Trust can step in and reset our veterans on a new path forward,” she said.
“The first step, asking for help, is often the hardest. Sports can help us to reach out to people from all backgrounds and connect with those veterans who don’t know where else to turn.”
Photo attached: State of Origin Man of the match Pete Arbuckle, Bravery Trust CEO Belinda Wilson and Premiership Maroons Co-Captain Zac Schumacher. Pete and Zac served in the Australian Army until medical discharge. Both will represent Australian in wheelchair rugby league later this year.