Leeds Rhinos Foundation

Leeds Rhinos Foundation

Changing Lives Through Sport

McDermott will be taking part in the fixture as a able bodied player
Brown a "worthy custodian of the number 10 shirt" McDermott
18 June 2018, 12:06
By Dan Phillis
Leeds Rhinos Foundation's Physical Disability Rugby League team will face Warrington Wolves Foundation in the Return Leg of the UK's inaugural PDRL fixture this Saturday boosted by the inclusion of Rhinos legend Barrie McDermott who said he is looking forward to lining up alongside long-term friend Simon Brown
McDemott, who announced his inclusion in the fixture earlier in the month has been an ambassador for PDRL since the concept was first introduced in February 2018 when the sides first met in Warrington.

He said: "I was actually involved in PDRL on a very brief basis in the first game over in Warrington and was bowled over by everybody, the participants, the players and the people who came to support those players as well and the people who just came to support physical disability rugby league.

"I was asked whether I would like to or whether i'd be prepared to play in that game and at the time I said no I think it's probably about the players who have put the effort in and the people that are part of that team regularly rather than just turning up all signing and all dancing and taking all the headlines, however when I watched it, I saw how everyone enjoyed playing with Toa Kohe-Love and Shaun Briscoe and I have since seen other able-bodied people get involved in the concept and just wanted to lend my support."

McDermott, who played over 280 times for the Rhinos during his career will line up as an able-bodied player for the side which includes players diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, amputees as well as a number of veterans with service related conditions including visual impairment such as Barrie's long-term friend Simon Brown.

"I'm happy to be invited by Chris and the team and of course looking forward to lining up with my good mate Simon Brown who is doing a sterling job looking after the number 10 shirt," said McDermott.

"Myself and Simon go way back and I suppose the set of circumstances that altered and changed his life were our introduction to one another, I went through something similar, couldn't really offer any advice but just was there at the end of a phone and we've been good friends ever since."

McDermott, who wore the number 10 shirt for the Rhinos before passing the baton to one of Super League's most successful ever captains Jamie Peacock before the latest in the line of Rhinos prop forward's Brad Singleton was awarded the number at the beginning of the 2018 season, said that Brown is a "worthy custodian" of the number as an inspiration to so many people.

He added: "Simon does a remarkable job not only for the forces but for the blind veterans where he is a patron and very heavily involved but also with in this stuff as well, i'm looking forward to it and it's a great thrill for me, as much as he says I played a big part in his recovery and inspired him, he inspires so many people and me as well. I have a particular bond with Simon so i'm happy to let him be the worthy custodian of that number 10 shirt and he deserves it, so i'll put whatever number on."

Saturday will also see a number of other supporters of the concept take to the pitch at Emerald Headingley Stadium including Rugby League Hall of Famer Garry Schofield and Radio colleague and TalkSPORT presenter Mark Wilson along with Channel 4 'The Last Leg's' Alex Brooker.

Brooker's co-host Adam Hill's will be joined by former Hull, Wigan and Widnes Vikings star Shaun Brisoce who will be playing for Warrington Wolves Foundation.

Now a fully established format of Rugby League, PDRL has grown to see Wakefield Trinity and Castleford Tigers community teams take part in fixtures and McDermott said he is hoping more fans get come along to support the game this Saturday.

"For those who haven't seen a game yet or been involved, it's a marvellous day and there is such a wave of good will and such an inspired atmosphere.

"People can come and you can see people with various ailments, there's one or two terms that people automatically get labelled with that the people on this team won't have and won't stand for it, so come and enjoy the day, i'm going to be there from the crack of dawn until it's all over, so i'm really going to get behind it and i'm looking forward to seeing everybody, whether you're wearing a shirt or just tipping a couple of quid into the pot, I look forward to having a great day on Saturday 23rd."

Gates at Emerald Headingley will open at 1pm on St Michael's Lane only and the game will kick off at 2.30pm. Entry is via donations on the gate, with all money going to Leeds Rhinos Foundation.

See the full interview with Barrie below

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