Meet the RSL Active members who will be showcasing their skill at the 2022 Toyota Wheelchair AFL National Championship!
Meet Brett Newman
Brett was medically discharged in 2012 after ongoing knee injuries that required total knee replacement and has suffered from permanent hearing loss and severe PTSD upon return- but he sought help, and is not happy and uses his past experience to help people and encourage everyone particually men to speak up and talk about their feelings. He played in the inaugural 2018 Collingwood premiership wheelchair team and is now the Captain.
Meet Matthew Blunt.
Matthew served in the Army for 23yrs from 1994-2016 in key areas; Artillery, Catering, and Transport 2004-2016. And was deployed to East Timor from 1999-2000.
In sport, he has been a member of the RSL Active Wheelchair Aussie Rules team since 2019 and has represented Australia in Wheelchair Rugby and Archery (Compound) at the 2018 Invictus Games.
Matthew enjoys playing adaptive sports and this year is his first year playing Wheelchair Aussie Rules for the Collingwood Magpies in the Victorian Wheelchair Aussie Rules competition.
Meet Damon Craig
Damon Craig is both a qualified Engineer and accomplished Artist. His qualifications have come from the Department of Defence, the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) and RMIT University.
His Military career included Operational Deployments in HMAS Darwin and HMAS Tobruk with the later gaining him a Fleet Commanders Commendation for his service. He also was awarded an Australia Day Medallion for his work in HMAS Cerberus in Military training. He was awarded his Weapons Electrical Charge Qualification whilst serving in HMAS Sydney and took up a posting in HMAS Newcastle as the Head of the Weapons Electrical Department. At the beginning of 2012, Damon was selected as the Guard Commander for the Royal Guard associated with the Award of the Governor’s Cup.
Damon has represented the RSL in both Winter Snow Sports in Canada in 2018 and also in the team for the National Wheelchair Football series in both 2018 and the 2019 Bronze medal team. He played for Essendon VWFL team in 2018 before moving to a management role for the 2019 series; culminating in receiving the AFL Values Award. Damon also competed in the inaugural World Archery Masters Championships in Geneva in 2018 where he placed in the top ten for Field Archery. He also won the Powered by Invictus Archery League in 2021 competing from Melbourne against a global pool.
Meet Rye Shawcroft
Rye Shawcroft Served in the Australian Army from 2014-2015. He previously competed in the 2018 Invictus Games, 2019 Warrior Games and the 2019 WCAR nationals, competing in wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, wheelchair AFL, seated volleyball, and swimming.
Rye's interests include competing and participating in a variety of adaptive sports, instrumental music and civil engineering.
Meet Aaron Battye
Aaron Battye served in the Army as a reservist quartermaster from 2012, before transferring to the regular army in 2015. He was medically discharged this year. During his service I deployed on Op Vanuatu Assist 17 and Op Accordion (Middle East).
Meet Sam Maraldo
Sam served in the Navy from 2008 to 2015
He currently plays Wheelchair AFL for Essendon, is just starting para ice hockey and has previously taken part in the Invictus Games in 2014 and 2018 in archery and sitting volleyball, and he enjoys AFL, cricket, union, golf, ice hockey, rugby, rugby league, psychology, history.
Meet Danielle Hale
Danielle enlisted in Army Reserve with MUR in 1989, transferred out a junior NCO to enlist in the RAN as an Aviation Technician working on the Sea King helicopters. She had operational service on HMAS Manoora and commissioned to Engineering Officer before being Medically discharged in 2019. she is married and has a teenage son.
Danielle currently plays wheelchair basketball and wheelchair footy in the SANFL for Norwood FC. She have an Assistance Dog, 'Poppy' from Integra Service Dogs Australia and supports Richmond in the AFL, loves playing wheelchair sports and hopes to continue playing them into the future.
Don't forget you can attend the games via the button below.