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“Every player on that pitch made history” – PDRL player Emma Kirke recalls Grand Final experience

Wakefield Trinity Physical Disability Rugby League player Emma Kirke – the first female PDRL player in the Northern hemisphere – gives us her insight following the conclusion of the 2019 PDRL season…

“The Physical Disability format has just completed its second year.

As a conclusion of epic proportions, Wakefield Trinity PDRL faced Castleford Tigers PDRL in the inaugural, history making curtain raiser before the Super League Grand Final. In a slight change to the normal format they played 13-a-side as opposed to the standard ‘nines’ format.

Both teams were welcomed by Super League and treated as VIP’s during the visit. The 12-person Wakefield side were joined by NRL legend Paul Gallen to make a strong lineup.

Castleford legend Dean Sampson also took to the field to represent the Tigers.

Their squad of 18 were in awe of Dean’s words of wisdom pre-match, while he also expressed his delight at being able to play alongside them. “This couldn’t have come at a better time for me, I am honoured to be taking the field with you guys,” he said.

Every player on that pitch made history. No curtain raiser has ever been played before the grand final.

From a personal point of view, I never though I would play rugby on the same pitch as my brother at a grand final event. Ian (Kirke – ex-Leeds Rhinos forward) has 5 winners rings in his collection, so I was so proud to be there.

Trinity won 12-4 to take the victory spoils in what proved to be a tight battle worthy of any Grand Final occasion.

Both teams finished the season with top four placings and will now be looking to build in the off-season for another incredible year in 2020.

A few players already have their eye on a spot in the PDRL England squad for the 2021 World Cup competition.”

By Emma Kirke

Photo Credit: Wakefield Trinity Community Trust

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