Stars rally for spe­cial Olympians

Waipa Post - - Sport - BY COLIN THORSEN

Rugby league su­per stars Kevin Wal­ters and Glenn Lazarus are ral­ly­ing be­hind Te Awa­mutu’s Spe­cial Olympics team.

The two for­mer Aus­tralian in­ter­na­tion­als have ded­i­cated their time to be guest speak­ers at Te Awa­mutu Spe­cial Olympics fundrais­ing din­ner/auc­tion at Trust Waikato Te Awa­mutu Events Cen­tre on Sat­ur­day, March 2.

Pro­ceeds from the func­tion will help off­set trav­el­ling/ac­com­mo­da­tion costs in­curred send­ing Te Awa­mutu ath­letes De­shan Walallavita, Por­tia John­son and Unity Collins to the World Games in Abu Dhabi in March, travel/ex­penses for other ath­letes to at­tend var­i­ous fu­ture events and cre­at­ing a web site.

Head coach Shel­ley Blair says the ap­prox­i­mate cost is $12,500 for each of the three New Zealand rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

“We had Wayne Ben­nett and Sir Peter Leitch as guest speak­ers at our last din­ner in 2013 with great suc­cess,” says Blair.

“Se­cur­ing rugby league le­gends Kevin Wal­ters and Glen Lazarus as our guest speak­ers this year is a coup for a small town like Te Awa­mutu.”

Wal­ters is cur­rent head coach of the Queens­land State of Ori­gin team, as well as a com­men­ta­tor for Fox League. He played fiveeighth for the Aus­tralian Kan­ga­roos, Queens­land Ma­roons and at pro­fes­sional club level pri­mar­ily for the Bris­bane Bron­cos.

In 1999, Wal­ters was handed the Bron­cos’ cap­taincy. He also cap­tained Queens­land in the sec­ond match of the 1999 State of Ori­gin se­ries.

Wal­ters was awarded the Aus­tralian Sports Medal for his con­tri­bu­tion to Aus­tralia’s in­ter­na­tional stand­ing in the sport of rugby league in 2000. He cap­tained the Bron­cos at half­back in their 2000 NRL grand fi­nal win against the Syd­ney Roost­ers, claim­ing one more premier­ship ring with the club be­fore mov­ing to Eng­land.

He played for War­ring­ton briefly and de­cided it was not for him and his fam­ily, so moved back to Aus­tralia, play­ing his fi­nal sea­son with the Bron­cos in 2001.

In 2003 Wal­ters was one of the first four for­mer play­ers in­ducted into the Bron­cos of­fi­cial Hall of Fame. Dur­ing the 2007 sea­son at the Bron­cos’ 20-year an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion, the club an­nounced a list of the 20 best play­ers to play for them to date which in­cluded Wal­ters.

Wal­ters grew up play­ing foot­ball along­side fu­ture Bris­bane Bron­cos (and Queens­land) team mate Al­lan Langer and brothers Steve and his twin Ker­rod Wal­ters. This com­bi­na­tion of play­ers was known fa­mously as The Ip­swich Con­nec­tion.

Glenn Lazarus is a for­mer Aus­tralian in­ter­na­tional rugby league prop and a for­mer Aus­tralian Se­na­tor.

After his re­tire­ment from foot­ball he as­sisted sev­eral NRL clubs in a coach­ing ca­pac­ity.

In the 2013 fed­eral elec­tion, Lazarus was elected to the Aus­tralian Se­nate for the state of Queens­land as the lead Queens­land can­di­date for the Palmer United Party (PUP).

He be­came PUP Se­nate leader at the com­mence­ment of his term in 2014. He quit PUP in 2015 cit­ing is­sues with its leader Clive Palmer, and es­tab­lished his own po­lit­i­cal party, the Glenn Lazarus Team. He did not re­tain his seat in the 2016 fed­eral elec­tion.

In 2000, Lazarus was awarded the Aus­tralian Sports Medal for his con­tri­bu­tion to Aus­tralia’s in­ter­na­tional stand­ing in rugby league. In 2003, he was one of the first four for­mer play­ers in­ducted into the Bron­cos’ of­fi­cial Hall of Fame.

In 2005, the western grand­stand of Olympic Park Sta­dium was named the Glenn Lazarus stand in his hon­our.

In 2008, Lazarus was named in the list of Aus­tralia’s 100 Great­est Play­ers (1908 — 2007), which was com­mis­sioned by the NRL and ARL to cel­e­brate the code’s cen­te­nary year in Aus­tralia. That same year, New South Wales an­nounced their rugby league team of the cen­tury, nam­ing Lazarus at prop.

Lazarus has been 612 ABC Bris­bane Break­fast rugby league tip­ster since 2008.

■ Tick­ets for Te Awa­mutu’s Spe­cial Olympics din­ner are now on sale. Con­tact Shel­ley Blair 0272891877 [email protected] or Ross Collins 0274905164.

Photo / Colin Thorsen

Te Awa­mutu swim­mers, from left, Por­tia John­son, De­shan Walallavita and Unity Collins (right) with head coach for aquat­ics at Spe­cial Olympics Te Awa­mutu, Shel­ley Blair (sec­ond from right) after gain­ing New Zealand se­lec­tion for the World Sum­mer Games.

Photo / Sup­plied

Rugby league mates Kevin Wal­ters and Glenn Lazarus to be guest speak­ers in Te Awa­mutu.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.