Cory Cannane - Australia
Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your rugby journey?
My name is Cory Cannane and I currently play wheelchair rugby league for St. George Illawarra Dragons, New South Wales Blues, and the Australia Wheelaroos.
I was originally playing able-bodied rugby league for East Hills Bulldogs until my father Craig Cannane started playing wheelchair rugby league. My father became disabled in a motorcycle accident when he was 19 years old. He was originally a wheelchair basketball player and was introduced by a fellow player to the game of wheelchair rugby league and was hooked immediately.
I watched my dad’s first Grand Final in the sport, and he recommended I come and join him for a season in the wheelchair game. It is an inclusive sport allowing both able-bodied and disabled players to compete together. From this point on I started playing wheelchair rugby and decided to step away from the East Hills Bulldogs to continue my career in the wheelchair game alongside my father.
What did you try to show with the photos? Was there any wider meaning with any of the photos?
I wanted to capture what an amazing and inclusive sport rugby league is. Most importantly I wanted to show both disabled and non-disabled competitors to show the inclusiveness of the sport.
This sport is so great at connecting friends and family due to the inclusivity. Disabled people usually cannot play any other sport on a competitive level with non-disabled individuals.
The photos were taken at various venues around New South Wales, including the Menai Indoor Sports Centre and PCYC Hawkesbury centre. The teams featured include the St. George Illawarra Dragons, New South Wales Blues, and the Australia Wheelaroos.
What does rugby league and playing for Australia mean to you?
Representing Australia is a massive honour, but more important to me is being able to represent my country alongside my father. This is a memory I will cherish forever, and I know I will be so proud of the moments to come. My father and I will be creating history as the first father-son competitors for Australia.
It means the world to be able to compete with my father as my teammate. I have never had an opportunity to play sport with him until now. My father has always inspired me on and off the court, as he is a very strong individual and always pushed me to be the best I can be. Playing together has made us closer, not only as father son but as mates!
I want to continue to improve and become a better player, represent my country, and achieve many victories.
What do you think the future looks like for wheelchair rugby league after the RLWC? What are the opportunities and what would you like to change?
The future is looking extremely bright for wheelchair rugby league, and I think the Rugby League World Cup will give it the attention it deserves. I am hoping this will boost the game. I would like the sport to be televised on a larger scale. Hopefully the attention will bring more interesting sponsors and revenue into the game, enhancing the sport and allowing it to grow.
The speed of the game is getting very quick. This makes everything much more exciting to watch and play. There are also many more opportunities available now - from representing an NRL club to playing for your state or for your country.
If you love rugby league and want to experience playing a fast-paced, exciting game that is inclusive - this is the game to get involved in. Those who play it love the intensity of the sport.