For many years, GingerCloud Foundation’s co-founders Megan and Anthony Elliott hoped that one day their son Max, who has Autism and complex language disability, may be able to play a team sport, at their local rugby club.
However, given the complexity of his cognitive disability they realised many elements of junior rugby would need to be modified for this to happen.
During this time, Max was doing a small group rugby skills training course with another friend with a learning and perceptual disability coached by professional rugby player Dallan Murphy. In 2013 when Max was 10, he had developed enough basic skills to be able to play a simplified form of the game.
Megan and Anthony saw this as their opportunity to try to get Max involved at Brothers Rugby Union Club, Brisbane. So, alongside Coach Dallan they met with the then Club President Ross McLennan to see if things could be modified so Max and boys and girls like him could play at Brothers.
Brothers agreed to support the concept and soon after had organised a working party including the Australian Rugby Union (ARU), the Queensland Rugby Union (QRU), Brothers, Megan and Anthony Elliott and their Speech Language Pathologist David Martin to begin developing what would become the Modified Rugby Program (MRP).
Later that year, International Quarterback organised for Nathan Sharpe, ex Wallaby captain and rugby legend, to become an MRP Ambassador along with Tim Horan AM.
Between April and June 2014, the MRP Pilot was held at Brothers Junior Rugby Club, Albion with resounding success, and the MRP has continued to grow since then. The MRP community currently has 335 participants, 32 teams in 13 clubs across Queensland and the ACT.
We are now receiving enquiries from several Rugby Union Clubs internationally.