Score Bears.

Score Bears on the hunt for more rugby league players

The Disability Trust is aiming to expand its Score Bears program on the Gold Coast so more budding young footballers can get the chance to learn how to play rugby league.

After launching late last year, the weekly training sessions are teaching a small group of players the basics of the sport in a fun environment with the goal of eventually forming a team.

The Disability Trust linked with the Burleigh Bears club which competes in the Queensland Cup and from that partnership, the Score Bears were born.

Each Wednesday the squad trains at Burleigh’s home ground under the guidance of Disability Support Worker Bailey Perussich, who coaches the young players on the techniques required to play league, such as passing and kicking, and on-field tactics.



“We run drills to get them improving their skills,” Bailey explained. “We want to get more players involved in trying to get up a team so they can start playing games.”

Theresa Perry, The Disability Trust’s South East Queensland Manager, said the long-term goal for the program is to put together a team of people with disability to enter into the local competition, ideally playing against a team from the junior ranks like the under 14s.

This plan has worked well in Canberra and Wollongong where the Score Raiders and Score Dragons respectively are flourishing, and a Score Sharks program is being set up in Cronulla.



“The Burleigh Bears have been wonderful,” Theresa said. “They’ve been very welcoming and they support us as much as they can.”

The Score Bears program uses a 1:3 coach to player ratio and the cost of the program is covered by each participant’s NDIS plan. Some similar programs can be expensive for participants and the ratio of players to coaches is much higher.

“We’ve had that feedback from the players that they enjoy having a smaller group because it’s hard to understand drills when there’s more players,” Bailey added.

“Here the drills are easier to understand and we’ve got a bit more time to go through them, and they prefer that.”

As the Score Bears program expands, The Disability Trust will add more staff to ensure they maintain the ratio of a coach for every three participants.

“We make sure that people still get the opportunities and the teaching that they can because we make sure our numbers stay on par with what we want to give them,” Theresa said.



“It’s a real fun opportunity for the players. They make friendships and it teaches them basic skills like learning to take turns, winning and losing.

“One of the boys has been finding some aspects of mainstream education difficult, but he’s getting confidence from this program.

“It’s been amazing to watch him go from somebody who would get down on himself when they didn’t win to now being at a point where he can make adjustments and cope with anything that he needs to deal with.

“He’s come so far with this program, it’s been great.”

During most sessions the players do ball-handling drills, practice their passing and kicking, and play two on two games or other activities which boost their overall fitness.

If you would like to get involved in the Score Bears program, click here.


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