For the fifth-straight year, Slater and Gordon has partnered with the Western Bulldogs and Collingwood football clubs to promote the inclusion of people of all abilities in sport and across the wider community.
The two teams recently faced off in a Round 1, Friday night blockbuster, competing for the Robert Rose Cup – named in honour of a former star footballer and cricketer who was left a quadriplegic after a car accident more than four decades ago.
After a hard-fought match, the Western Bulldogs ran out eventual winners with the Robert Rose Cup.
As part of the lead in week and pre-game celebrations, Slater and Gordon was involved in a number of activities to promote sporting opportunities for people of abilities and encourage disability inclusion in sport and the community.
Slater and Gordon, Victorian General Manager, Personal Injury, Dina Tutungi said supporting people with disability and promoting their participation and inclusion is very important to our organisation and a key area of focus for our work in the community.
“We know that participation rates in sports and recreation activities among people with a disability are considerably lower than that of the rest of the population,” Ms Tutungi said.
“Only one in three people with disability participate in a sporting activity compared with two in three of those without disability.
Developed to enable all AFL enthusiasts an opportunity to play the game they love, Wheelchair Aussie Rules is based on AFL rules and played on a basketball or netball court. The sport is open to anyone to play, making AFL everyone’s game.
In the lead up to the Robert Rose Cup, a demonstration Wheelchair Aussie Rules match was played at Collingwood’s training facilities, the Holden Centre. Taking part were a number of players from Disability Sport and Recreation VIC, with Bulldog Mitch Wallis and Pie Mason Cox also giving it a shot. Watch here.
Additionally, Slater and Gordon raised further awareness for the sport on game-night with a Wheelchair Handball competition for fans arriving at the match, also attended by a few of the Wheelchair Aussie Rules players demonstrating their skills and educating footy fans about the sport.
Other activities at the game included:
- Messaging on the Western Bulldogs banner
- Coin toss by Wheelchair Tennis Player Martyn Dunn and,
- A special opportunity for a young Western Bulldogs fan and Slater and Gordon client to run out onto the MCG with their favourite team.
Mitchell, 8, was the victim of a vicious dog attack 18 months ago, which left him with chest scars and psychological trauma.
“I can’t wait to get onto the ground and meet some of the players,” Mitchell said before the game. “I was so happy when they won the premiership last year, it will be great.”
Ms Tutungi said it was extremely rewarding being able to give a young fan the opportunity to not only meet some of their favourite players but also play such a large part in such a big game.
Robert Rose – son of Magpie legend Bob Rose - played 26 games for Collingwood between 1970 and 1972 and nine for Footscray in 1973. He also played 19 first-class cricket games for Victoria as a batsman.
In 1974 and at the age of 22, Rose was left a quadriplegic following a car accident. After he passed away in 1999, the Robert Rose Foundation was launched in his honour, providing support to those suffering from spinal injuries and with physical disabilities.
The Robert Rose Cup has been played between the two teams since 2000 with Slater and Gordon taking part since 2013.