Noosa disability program a huge success

Match Centre

Noosa disability program a huge success

“I’ve been involved in footy a long time and it was one of the greatest things I’ve seen.”

That’s Rob Purves, the Special Needs Coach at the Noosa Tigers, speaking about the half time game they played during the Noosa vs. Moreton Bay game.

Before we get into the game itself, let me give you a bit of background information.

The Noosa disability program began at the start of this year, and is open to people of all ages and disabilities to come down, learn the skills of the game, and have a bit of fun.

The club started the program as a way of giving back to the community.

“Noosa sat down at the end of last year and thought, what can we do to put back into the community that we ask a lot from? We decision was made to run with a special needs program,” Purves said.

The program, which runs in conjunction with the Sunshine Butterflies, a disability support service and charity who sponsor Noosa, currently has 26 members registered from ages eight to 30, and is growing every week.

“We started off with a basic three week program which was just prior to the school holidays, just to get a feel and a gauge of numbers and skill levels. Then we went about setting up a program, based around the Auskick program, in skills, a bit of fun, heading towards a game,” he said.

There was no hesitation from the Noosa senior players in backing this program, they put their hands up straight away, which didn’t surprise Purves.

“I put it to the players, and said this is what we need to get going, it needs the buy in of players to help, we can’t just have two people running it, we need a large volume of help,” he said.

“That night, I would have had eight or nine players come right up to me and said I’ll help. I’ve probably had 28 players come through the system of helping out at least one night.

It’s gotten to the point where the senior players are forming connections with the program members, who look to them as hero’s.

“Last night we had 18 at training, and would have had 13 senior players there. So now they are starting to buddy up. One of the boys asked if one of the leadership group guys were coming down, so we got him down to have a kick last night, and the look on his face was like ‘how good was that,” Perves said.

All the training nights this year led to last weekend’s match.

At half time of the senior game, right in front of the pavilion at Noosa, the players got to show off their skills in front of a bumper, and very supportive crowd.

“We split them into three zones. We put the eight to ten year olds in one zone, we have seven girls so we put them in another zone, and we had to older males, 20 plus in another zone, and played a game of footy,” he said.

It wasn’t just the supporters who were interested onlookers though. Both senior teams put their on-field rivalry aside for 25 minutes by staying out on the ground and showing their support.




At the end of it I took the players over to the Moreton Bay side and they shook hands with them all, then they went over to Noosa and shook hands, and then at the end of the game they sang the song with our players,” Purves said.

“It was just a great moment in footy. People we were coming up to me at the end saying they had tears in their eyes.”

With the program such a huge success in its first year, Purves and the club are very optimistic about the years to come.

“We aim to build the numbers, and we will. The interest that’s coming now from Sunshine Butterflies going out to their other associations, the numbers are going to grow,” he said.

“We were even talking that if we can get up and running with another ten next year, we might even start to run our own in house competition, to give them something to strive for each Wednesday night.”

Opportunity for all, that’s what this program is about, and it’s being done exceptionally well; the smiles on the faces show that.

Well done, Noosa.

By Andrew Wiles@andrewjwiles



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