Sports Summary

Wheelchair rugby was first contested at the Paralympic Games as a demonstration sport in Atlanta in 1996. It became an official medal-awarding sport at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games and has since become one of the world’s most exciting and popular Para-sports.

Wheelchair rugby is an intense, contact team sport played by males and females in eight-minute quarters. To be eligible to compete, athletes must have a significant impairment that affects their arms and legs.

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Australian Steelers wheelchair rugby team

The Australian Steelers wheelchair rugby team is one of the most successful teams in the world, winning two gold medals at the Paralympic Games (2012 and 2016) and world championships in 2014 and 2022.

The National Squad features 12 Para-athletes and is managed by a High Performance team:

Head Coach: Brad Dubberley
Performance Director: Paul Kiteley
High Performance Manager: Sam Allan
Assistant Coach and Strength/Conditioning: Greg Smith
National Development Coach: Jason Lees
Welfare: Eloise Boyle
Performance Analyst: Lewis Quinn
Pathways Manager: Sam Fox

Events & Disciplines

International Events

Paralympic Games
World Wheelchair Rugby Championships
Asia-Oceania Championships

Domestic Events

WRA National Championships
Recent Results


In Australia there is a complete pathway catering for a wide range of abilities from social participation, state and national competition, development, and high-performance level athletes. Wheelchair Rugby Australia (governed by Disability Sports Australia) manages domestic events and works closely with Paralympics Australia and other organisations within each state to grow the sport.

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Wheelchair rugby is open to athletes with significant physical impairment impacting three to four limbs.

Like all Para-sports, wheelchair rugby players are classified based on their disability and undergo a bench test and functional skills test. Each player is given a points value after these tests which will range from 0.5 (lowest) to 3.5 (highest). The four players on court for a wheelchair rugby team must not exceed a total of 8 points.

Spinal Cord Injury

Limb Deficiency

Neurological Impairments

Who can play?

Wheelchair rugby is caters for all ages and is a mixed gender sport meaning male & females play together.

While anyone can play socially, to be eligible to participate at a competition level players must have an impairment in 3-4 limbs.

The sport was initially designed for people with spinal cord injuries, predominantly quadriplegia. However, there are many other eligible impairment types; Cerebral Palsy, CMT, Amputees, Limb Deficiency, Motor Neuron and many more.

For more information on Eligible Impairments and Classification please check out the Wheelchair rugby Information Sheet (PDF – 89KB) – updated August 2021.

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Rules & Equipment

Wheelchair rugby is an intense, contact team sport played by males and females in eight-minute quarters.

It is an invasion and evasion sport: once possession has been gained, the objective is to move the ball forward by passing or carrying the ball into opposition territory and ultimately to score points.


Wheelchair rugby is played indoors on a regulation-sized basketball court. The basketball key area is replaced by a wheelchair rugby key 8m wide and 1.75m deep. The part of the end line within the key is called the goal line and it is marked with one pylon at each end.


An official size and weight (280g) volleyball is used for play. It must be white in colour.


As a contact sport, wheelchair rugby places high demands on players’ wheelchairs. They must be lightweight and easy to manoeuvre while still being strong enough to protect the players and withstand frequent collisions.

Wheelchair rugby chairs have several unique features including bumpers at the front and wings to protect the sides. Spoke protectors and anti-tip devices are mandatory. All wheelchairs must meet International Wheelchair Rugby Federation regulations.


Athletes may wear gloves to improve their grip on the ball.

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Medal History

Year Gold Silver Bronze total
2016 1 0 0 1
2012 1 0 0 1
2008 0 1 0 1
2000 0 1 0 1


To explore how to play Wheelchair Rugby today contact your local state federation contact below: The national federation link below provides information on the national high-performance program which leads to Australian representation at international competitions, including the Paralympic Games.

National Federation
Organisation Email Phone
Paralympics Australia 0411 612 956
Wheelchair Rugby Australia 0405 036 727
State Federations  
State Location  Contact Details
NSW Netball Central, Sydney Olympic Park Richard Voris
0432 602 064
QLD Tallebudgera, Brisbane Ben Newton
0432 833 239
SA Northfield – Hamstead Rehab Centre Andy Phillips
0428 100 678
VIC Box Hill Andrew Harrison
0430 134 223
WA Mirrabooka Hayden Lewis
0432 886 233
TAS Hobart David Wood
0408 574 059