The Vodafone Warriors’ commitment to encouraging people with physical disabilities to get involved in rugby league has been underlined with Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad’s appointment as an ambassador for Physical Disability Rugby League New Zealand.
The role will see Nicoll-Klokstad attend PDRLNZ team trainings to help players prepare for upcoming tournaments as well as promoting more interest in rugby league among people with physical disabilities.
He said he was proud to be asked to be an ambassador and says encouraging people with physical disabilities to give rugby league a go is a cause that has special meaning for him. His older brother Tyson had muscular dystrophy and died from the condition in 2010 when he was only 19.
“Because of my personal experience with supporting my brother and seeing the challenges he went through, this is something that’s really close to my heart and I guess this is my way of giving back,” said Nicoll-Klokstad.
“I’m looking forward to encouraging people with physical disabilities that they can give anything a go, and that rugby league is such an awesome sport to be involved in. I also think I will learn so much from them, too. I just want to be able to help in whatever way I can. Physical disability doesn’t need to be something that holds you back from taking part, and I want to help spread that message across our communities.”
PDRLNZ organiser Sandra Michelle Hickey welcomed Nicoll-Klokstad’s appointment.
“We are thrilled to bits to have Charnze join our whanau as ambassador,” she said.
“As a young man with a close relationship to disability through his brother there couldn’t be a better choice than Charnze.
“His amazing talent and passion for the game and for the development of Physical Disability Rugby League will help us reach even more people with a physical disability and encourage them to get involved.”
The Vodafone Warriors and Physical Disability Rugby League’s partnership began in 2017. As well as providing the organisation with the ongoing support of a player ambassador, the club has supplied kit for the national team and staged a physical disabilities match as a curtain-raiser before the Vodafone Warriors’ NRL home game against Cronulla this year.
Nicoll-Klokstad made headlines last year when, in a random act of kindness, he purchased a pair of sneakers for a young boy - Takiri Wikitera - who has cerebral palsy.