Physical Disability Rugby League pioneer Adam Hills is set to play against some of the team-mates he helped introduce to the game after being selected in an extended Australian squad for October’s World Cup in England.
Hills, who was awarded an OBE for services to Paralympic Sport and Disability Awareness in the Queen’s 2022 New Year’s Honors List, was instrumental in the establishment of a PDRL competition in Britain and has played for Warrington since 2018.
However, the comedian and TV host declared his allegiance to Australia on an episode of The Last Leg aired in the UK on July 29, which also featured an announcement of the draw for the PDRL World Cup.
The tournament will be played in Warrington from October 23 to October 30 and features Australia, England, New Zealand and Wales.
A 40-man Australian squad was announced on Monday and will be reduced to 20 players on August 14, with Hills hoping to be among those selected for the World Cup.
“Honored to make the extended squad to represent Australia in the PDRL World Cup,” Hills tweeted. “Whether selected or not, I’ll do all I can to support the team.”
The majority of the squad played in an historic selection trial between the Gold Coast Titans and NSW PDRL teams at Cbus Super Stadium on July 16.
A fundraising campaign has been launched to assist with travel and other costs for the Australian PDRL team.
A household name in both Australia and England, where he hosts The Last Leg and Channel 4’s coverage of Super League, Hills is also a RLWC2021 ambassador.
After learning that there was a PDRL competition in Sydney, which included his beloved Rabbitohs, Hills offered to help Warrington establish a team.
Commuting from London to train and play, he has since played more than 20 matches for Warrington, two for Souths and represented NSW City and Lancashire.
A documentary Hills made about Warrington’s trip to Australia to play South Sydney in the Physical Disability World Club Challenge won an award in the Television/Digital Documentary category at the 2019 British Sports Journalism Awards.
Hills is now poised to pull on the green-and-gold jersey of Australia at the PDRL World Cup in England, which will be played alongside the Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair tournaments.
The final of the PDRL World Cup will be the second match in a double-header with the Samoa v France game at Halliwell Jones Stadium on October 30.