The return of the Protect Victorian Wheelchair Rugby Cup will have an added layer of excitement following Australia's recent crowning as the Wheelchair Rugby World Champions.
With three Victorians a part of the Australian Steelers squad that picked up gold in Denmark this month, the standard of the local game is set to benefit immensely as competition returns this weekend.
With just two rounds remaining before finals, the world championship win will throw further spotlight on 'the toughest sport in the world,' as four Victorian clubs fight for a spot in the Big Dance.
We caught up with one of Victoria's World Cup Champions, Shae Graham, to discuss the world championship and how her Box Hill Broncos are shaping up as the season heats up.
Rugby Victoria (RV): The Steelers are World Champions! What's been the reaction in the community since your historic victory?
Shae Graham (Shae): We are! There has been so much excitement and happiness since the win!
Our wheelchair rugby community, families and friends have been super supportive and we have felt all that love and support - it definitely helped get us through the tough competition.
We went into the competition as the underdogs and wanted to prove to everyone that we were still at the top of our game to come out of the competition as world champions feels amazing.
RV: With 3 Victorians in the squad, it must be a ringing endorsement of the strength of the game in our state?
Shae: We are super lucky in Victoria to have a strong local competition with a high number of players.
Having that high level of competition in Victoria definitely helps with the development of players and pushes us all to improve.
RV: What type of impact does a world championship have on the local game? ie. Raise awareness / greater spotlight on players and teams?
Shae: The world championships and especially the win definitely raises awareness of our sport and briefly casts a spotlight on the game and what we do.
But it deserves a lot more attention - Wheelchair Rugby is a highly strategic, fast paced, full contact sport that is super interesting.
People need to see more of it because they will love it.
RV: Round 5 of the Protect Victorian Wheelchair Rugby Cup resumes on November 7 after a month off. The mid season break must involve pretty gruelling training?
Shae: Yep we kick off again in November. I’m not 100% sure what everyone has been up too as I took 12 days off after World Championships to Travel.
RV: It's a mad dash now to the finals, who has cemented themselves as favourites for the comp in your eyes?
Shae: I’m a member of the Box Hill team this season so I’m going to have to say that we are the favourites to take out the competition!
Round 5 of the Protect Victorian Wheelchair Rugby Cup returns Monday, 7 November at Aqualink Box Hill, Surrey Drive, Box Hill.
Game One: World Champion Shae Graham & the Box Hill Broncos vs Unicorns (7pm)
Game Two: Power House vs Harlequins (8pm).