THE recognition for deaf rugby is growing, and so to is the interest.
Deaf Rugby Australia is looking to harness that and will this weekend be heading to Inverell to conduct a training and recruitment camp.
Inverell first grade coach Dave Kearsey and prop Paul Young are both current members of the Australian side and have helped facilitate the visit, which Kearsey said will be “a great thing for country rugby, especially Inverell”.
“DRA is all about promoting deaf rugby and they wanted to get away from the cities and hit the bush so big Pauly and I threw in Inverell as an option and they loved it,” he said.
“It also gives Paul and I a chance to show our home town what a genuinely good thing it is.”
Kearsey became involved a couple of years ago and has loved the experience.
He said the weekend would be aimed at not only promoting deaf rugby, but recruiting new players.
“There are a lot of new hearing-impaired players that have played very limited rugby, attending just to do their best and have a go and hopefully get a look in when the 2013 DRA training squad is announced,” he said.
The Aussies’ success against New Zealand last November has sparked renewed interest and players will be travelling from as far away as Adelaide and Townsville to attend.
“There are new players from all over the country who are currently playing other sports that want to have a crack at rugby and see if they can earn an Aussie jumper,” Kearsey said.
The camp gets underway tomorrow and will conclude with a trial game against the Highlanders on Saturday kicking off at 2.30pm.
The game will be played in three 25 minute segments. For the last the sides will be mixed up.
All the odd numbers will swap so that the Inverell players will get an opportunity to play alongside the deaf guys and vice versa.
“I’m sure this will be a great experience for all and will be played in good spirit and will be a great way to round out the entire event,” Kearsey said
He and Young will both be playing for the deaf side.
That will, Kearsey said, give him a good chance to examine individual performances from an oppositions view, but will no doubt leave him open to attack. “After what I’ve been putting the boys through at training I’m sure I will have a fairly decent target on my back,” Kearsey said.
“We (deaf side) won’t be pulling any punches though.”
It promises to be a unique rugby spectacle and Kearsey encouraged anyone that was a fan of rugby to come and watch.
“And maybe shake hands with one of the players as I know on a personal note what each one has had to overcome in their lives to be where they are,” he said.