Sharks Have Heart ran two successful Mega Jaws clinics this July, bringing the fun and excitement of rugby league to those with disabilities.
The clinics are run during the school holidays to ensure everyone can take part in the Sharks holiday clinics. On Tuesday, July 2 the clinic was run for the younger kids, while the following week it was the adults mastering the footy drills at PointsBet Stadium.
The first session saw record numbers attending, with 48 children enjoying an afternoon on the field, meaning hundreds of hugs for kid-favourite Reefy.
The activities were tailored for the different age-based sessions and by the end of both sessions the participants were sweaty and smiling.
Led by Sharks Have Heart Inclusivity Co-ordinator Jason Stanton, everyone had a go at tackling, kicking goals, scoring tries and running away from Reefy’s jaws!
The Mega Jaws adult clinic was the product of another Sharks community event.
After meeting at the Southern Sydney Transition Careers Expo, hosted by Sharks Have Heart earlier this year, Jay Petoumenos from The Intellectual Disability Foundation of St George worked with the Sharks to make Tuesday’s clinic happen.
Asked what Mega Jaws meant to the participants, Petoumenos said; “The excitement’s been building every single day, the excitement level has been amazing.”
The group were able to watch part of the NRL squad’s training session and got photos with and autographs of their favourite players. Petoumenos loved watching the group light up with excitement.
“Watching the different sides of their personality come out when they’re with people they absolutely adore, it’s just fantastic” she said.
In facilitating the Mega Jaws clinics Sharks Have Heart aim to bring the thrill of rugby league to those with disabilities and additional needs, however some of Tuesday’s participants needed no introduction to rugby league, soaring their kicks straight between the posts every time.
The Mega Jaws clinics are completely free for everyone taking part, in line with Sharks Have Heart’s efforts to provide inclusive community events and initiatives in the Sutherland Shire area. Sharks Have Heart aim to run Mega Jaws clinics every school holidays in 2019, made possible by the support of Capital Bluestone and generous Sharks Have Heart donors.
To help Sharks Have Heart in contributing to an inclusive Sutherland Shire community, you can donate here: https://asf.org.au/projects/cronulla-sharks-football-club/sharks-have-heart-inclusivity-and-diversity/