Ryan Mellon - Scotland
Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your rugby journey?
My name is Ryan Mellon. I am 16 years old and from a town in Scotland called Kirkcaldy. My current rugby life is quite difficult at the moment as I have joined the army and my rugby life is a bit on hold. I have one session a week at AFC Harrogate. But when I am on leave, I come back home to train and play back at my local rugby club in Kirkcaldy.
My rugby journey has been really exciting for me, for my friends, and my family. I have been playing rugby since I was four and I have been at the same club for my whole rugby life. I also had the opportunity to play for my regional rugby team last year before I left to join the army.
I have played for Scotland U16s rugby league team but have also had the opportunity to play for Scotland Wheelchair rugby league. I went to a session with my dad, and I used to watch him play as a kid, so I decided to jump in the chair and give it a go. I realised that it was really fun and also very good for upper body strength which helps a lot with my running rugby.
The best time of my rugby journey has to be winning my first Scotland Wheelchair rugby league cap, which was a really proud moment for me and my family. I got to represent my country, my friends, and family.
What did you try to show with the photos? Was there any wider meaning with any of the photos?
My dad Michael is in most of the photos. I wanted to show us training together and working hard to get where he wants to get before the Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup. There are also teammates from my rugby club. They have helped me through my journey as well to try and get to the same goal as my dad.
I wanted to show the journey we have been on, how much we have improved, and how hard we have been working. We really wanted to show how much effort we have put in throughout every day.
Playing with my dad has strengthened our relationship a lot as we worked together every day getting fit and went through the exact same training as each other. I am really proud of him and cannot wait to see him perform in the World Cup.
You can see one photo of my dad doing a handstand push up in the gym. At the start of our journey, he could not do a handstand push up at all, which shows how far he has come on throughout our training.
There was also a team photo after Jay had retired from international rugby league. She woke up one morning and could not move – she was paralysed. But this did not stop her playing and she also coaches children to play wheelchair sports.
What does rugby league and playing for your country mean to you?
Rugby league means a lot to me. I am mainly a rugby union player, but I feel like rugby league has brought my game on a lot and it has made me a better overall player. Playing for my country is a proud moment for me and my family and friends. In the future I would like to try to get as many caps as my dad and more! Hopefully I get the chance in the future to play in the World Cup.
What do you think the future looks like for rugby league after the RLWC? What would you like to change?
I think rugby league will become much bigger. There is one main thing I could change, which is for Wheelchair rugby league to be in the Paralympics. This would really progress the sport.
What would you say to someone to convince them to participate in Wheelchair rugby league?
Anyone wanting to join Wheelchair rugby league should just jump in and try it. For sure they will enjoy themselves. Rugby league is fast and exciting. The sport allows people to get fit in a fun way and it is also really enjoyable for people to watch.