Simon Mahony can?t wait to get to New Zealand.
Simon Mahony can?t wait to get to New Zealand.

Simon hopes NZ trip will lead to bigger things

By ADRIAN MILLER

MOST rugby players barely listen to the referee at the best of times. Simon Mahony has no choice.

But that hasn't stopped the Goonellabah resident excelling at his chosen sport and during Easter the Southern Cross University rugby club member will head to New Zealand to play for the Central Zone in the NZ Deaf Rugby Championships.

It won't be the first taste of representative honours Mahony has had. He played for the Australian Deaf Rugby team in 2005, after he took up rugby a little over three years ago.

Mahony was selected for the Central Zone after Australian teammates played at the championships previously and he is hoping the experience will lead to his selection in the Australian team for the Deaf Rugby World Cup in Wales in 2008.

"It's very exciting to participate and hopefully I'll improve my skills and level of experience," he said.

"Of course it will be tough (but it will be) great to be involved in because there will be plenty of Deaf All Blacks players there."

When Mahony isn't on representative duties he plays for the SCU Gold Rats in the Far North Coast competition as a flanker/centre.

Deaf rugby adheres to the same laws as normal rugby ? the only difference being the players have to pay a little bit more attention to the referee.

"The referee has got to blow the whistle very hard and he puts a flat palm up high (to indicate) stop and we all stop," Mahony said.

"But we know the rules of the game."

While Mahony loves rugby, it's not all about competition for him.

"I'm encouraged to share (my experiences) and (hopefully I can be) a role model to the community and show that anyone can do this," he said.

nWhile Mahony is desperate to play in NZ, he does need some help getting there and would gratefully welcome any sponsorship opportunities. If you'd like to help Simon, you can email him at smcde_mahony@ hotmail.com or send him a text message on 0439 467 848.



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