Steelers off to winning start at Paralympics

Matt Lewis Profile
by Matt Lewis

The Australian wheelchair rugby team has opened its Paralympic gold medal defence, with a 53-51 victory over Great Britain in Rio.

Led by a starring effort from Riley Batt, who scored 27 goals, the Steelers hung on against a fighting GB team, as they vie to become the first back-to-back gold medallists.

Australia dominated the contest early but weren’t able to take control on the scoreboard, holding just a two-goal lead at the main break.

Steelers captain Ryan Scott praised his side’s effort, but said they coughed up possession too often.

“We performed really well but at times we just gave it back to them a little too easy,” he said.

Australia are looking for back-to-back Paralympic gold medals. Photo: AFP

“It is something that we are going to need to fix up. We’ve played them a few times this year and over the last few years and we were expecting it to be really tough. Their defence is great.

“It was no surprise, but we are a bit disappointed in the way we gave the ball back a bit too much.”

Batt said the tough start was exactly what the Steelers needed in their opening tournament match.

“Props to GB for throwing all that they could at us, we knew it was coming. It wasn’t the best game we could have played but we would rather have that now,” Batt said.

“We needed a tough game like that, that will make us harder for the tournament to come.”

Australia face host nation Brazil in their second match at 8:15am AEST, Friday on 7two.

Australia - 53

Great Britain - 51