Getting athletes scoring goals

Thursday 5th Jul, 2018

How our Grants & Scholarships Program helped get a rugby player to Melbourne

In his own words: Avivo customer Matt Selton

At the start of this year, myself and one other WA Member of the Wheelchair Rugby Team were selected to participate in the Melbourne Invitational Competition that was held on April 12-15, 2018 at the Caroline Springs Leisure Centre in Victoria.

I've worked extremely hard this year and, as well as rugby training 3 days per week, have had weekly physio and hydrotherapy, plus weights and gym fitness. Having my physical state in such good condition has allowed me to spend more time in my chair, increasing my energy and being able to attend church and family events, which is very important to me. Being up and about has greatly increased my mental health and focus. 

This was an amazing opportunity for me and I was very excited as I hadn’t been out of WA since I was 6 years old! The chance to travel and go on this adventure was absolutely amazing, a blessing. This was a life altering step towards my dream of competing representing Australia in wheelchair rugby. 

Wheelchair rugby is a team sport for male and female athletes with a disability. The aim is to score goals by crossing the opposing team’s goal line while in possession of the ball. The ball may be passed, thrown, batted, rolled, dribbled, or carried in any direction subject to the restrictions laid down in the rules. The team scoring the most goals by the end of the game is declared the winner.

Our team did really well – we played 4 games undefeated on the Friday, only losing the grand final in the last 5 seconds. The main competition began on Saturday morning and was a 5-team round robin. In the last competition over the Saturday and Sunday we played 4 games, again undefeated until the grand final where we lost in the closing 3 seconds. The grand final was extremely close, trading points in a nail-biting thriller, called the game of the tournament. It was streamed live by IWRF, and watched by family and friends back in Perth.

As an individual player I was surprised that in the closing ceremony I was awarded a spot in the All-star Four team representing the top 4 players of the tournament.

This trip and the amazing opportunity wouldn't have been possible without the support of my Avivo team and the Small Sparks Grant. I'm so grateful for the financial and personal help I received leading up to tournament and already have been approached to compete in the upcoming nation events being held in Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra over the coming months.

 I'd like to say a special thank you to Suzy Buttery and Christine McIvor for raising over $600 for me by making and selling lunches and all who purchased them. Also to David LaGalia (pictured above with me) who made a massive effort helping with my personal care, transfers, strapping, rugby equipment and flights. Your individual run to the terminal deserved a trophy too, David! 

This has been an awesome achievement and I'm looking forward to doing it again soon,
Matt