Rebels to celebrate All Abilities

Mon, May 22, 2023, 9:09 AM
Rebels Media
by Rebels Media

The Melbourne Rebels are thrilled to announce it will host its first annual All Abilities Match when it takes on the Western Force on Friday Night at AAMI Park.

The event aims to celebrate Rugby as truly a game for every body, promoting inclusivity, safety, and engagement within the Victorian Rugby community.

The night will be filled with exciting activities that embrace the spirit of inclusivity.

An Auslan interpreter will be present on the AAMI Park big screens, ensuring that all spectators can fully participate in the match.

Participants and carers from What Ability will form a halftime guard of honour, accomplished Melbourne DJ, Cooper Smith, will take control of the music, providing an energetic atmosphere for all attendees.

Furthermore, children from the specialist school Emerson will have the unique opportunity to participate in a game on the field during halftime.

To acknowledge the final home game of the season and to say thank you to our members and supporters, fans will be invited onto the field after the game. For those needing wheelchair access to the field, AAMI Park guest services staff, located on Level 1 at Aisle 10 or Aisle 21, will be available to provide assistance.

Despite living with cerebral palsy, DJ Cooper Smith is a rising star within Melbourne's music scene. He has become a sought-after DJ and has performed at major music events across the city, including this year's Ability Fest hosted by Dylan Alcott.

30 participants and carers from the What Ability program will be fortunate enough to form a guard of honour for the Rebels players as they run out for the second half of the match. What Ability is an NDIS-registered disability support service utilising professional and semi-professional athletes as support workers, and provides support services across the country.

Dignitaries from Disability Sport and Recreation Victoria will be welcomed in the Club's Chairman's function pre-game, including CEO Liz Tesone and former Paralympian and current Victorian wheelchair rugby head coach, Andrew Harrison OAM.

Melbourne Rebels CEO, Baden Stephenson, expressed the Club's commitment to creating an inclusive and welcoming environment.

"As a club and a code, we feel a duty to ensure that every member of Victoria's Rugby family feels welcome," Stephenson said.

"All Abilities is a key pillar of our community engagement at the Rebels, and events like these underscore our efforts to enable participants to live life to the fullest.

“We are delighted to collaborate with partners like Disability Sport and Recreation Victoria and What Ability and look forward to strengthening these relationships as we continue to enhance our inclusivity initiatives."

The All Abilities Match marks the culmination of a week filled with inclusive activities for the Club.

Melbourne Rebels players and staff will on Tuesday participate in a wheelchair rugby 'Come and Try' day, hosted by Disability Sport and Recreation at The Grange P-12 College in Hoppers Crossing. Over 100 children from years four to six will have the unique opportunity to experience wheelchair Rugby for the first time, gaining firsthand insight into the remarkable skills of wheelchair athletes.

The event, hosted by Paralympian Andrew Harrison, aims to inspire and engage young individuals with the sport.

The Melbourne Rebels are dedicated to fostering an inclusive and diverse Rugby community, and the All Abilities match stands as a testament to that commitment.

To purchase tickets for Friday Night’s match, click here. To read more about the Rebels’ community programs, proudly supported by TAC, click here.

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