JUSTIN RAYMOND, Centralian Advocate
July 3, 2019 11:53am
WHEN Centralian Cory Mostran suffered a serious spinal injury in 2011 he thought his sporting days were behind him.
Fast forward to the present and the 28-year-old is preparing to represent Queensland for the fourth time against New South Wales in the 2019 Wheelchair Rugby League State of Origin at Quaycentre, Sydney Olympic Park on Saturday at 3pm.
Mostran suffered the injury that left him paraplegic on September 25, 2011 when his motorbike jump on 6m sand dunes outside of Alice Springs went horribly wrong. He has been in a wheelchair ever since that accident.
“I was pre-running for the Finke Desert race, but then I stopped and I started jumping sand dunes for a bit of fun,” Mostran said.
“That’s when it all happened.
“My feet slipped off, I was in the air and I’ve fallen off the bike and landed flat on my back on the red dirt which is like cement.
“When I tried to get up I knew I had stuffed up and from that moment I thought my life was over.”
The born and bred Centralian lived in Alice Springs until the age of 21 before he decided to move to Brisbane in 2013 and chase his wheelchair sporting dreams. He was joined in the move by his mother and step dad.
And the decision paid off as he now relishes playing for Queensland in wheelchair rugby league, despite being a New South Wales supporter in the regular State of Origin.
His sister Gemma, who lives in Queensland, helped him get involved in wheelchair sports.
“She looked up opportunities in wheelchair sport that I could do in Queensland because I wanted to move,” he said. “She found this non-profit organisation, Sporting Wheelies, that got me into wheelchair sports.”
Up until then he had never played rugby league, however, he would regularly watch his brother-in-law Shaun Harre in action playing for Wests in Alice Springs.
“That was sort of a bonding thing between me and him. My sister and Shaun have been among my biggest supporters,” he said. And Harre, who is able bodied and has played for the Redcliffe Dolphins in the A-grade, will play alongside Mostran as the wheelchair rugby league is an all inclusive code.
“I always used to sit and think how good would it be if I could have been playing with him in rugby league and now we do,” he said.
“It’s pretty amazing that this sport opportunity came around for us.”
Mostran was not sure he had even made the team for the fourth time after last Sunday’s tryouts as Maroons coach JJ Atuahiva named him last.
“Everyone’s name was getting called out and I thought maybe I wasn’t good enough,” he said. “But he was just joking and left my name until last.”
Of this year’s one-game Wheelchair State of Origin, he believes Queensland is in the best position to finally upset New South Wales.
NSW has been a dominant force since it established its wheelchair rugby league competition in back in 2010, while Queensland only formed its in recent years.
“I’ve been pushing in my chair and training to get a bit fitter and stronger for this,” he said.
“The three years that I have played for the Maroons we have started making ground on NSW scorewise.
“We started off horribly and they annihilated us the first time, the second time we didn’t lose by as much and the third time we only lost by a few tries.
“We have cut it down every year, so this year I think it is our time. We have been dissecting our game and now I reckon this year we have a big shot at winning because we have a strong team.”
Wheelchair rugby league is played over two basketball courts and used modified NRL rules with Oz tag mixed into it.
Rugby league is not the only wheelchair sport he plays, he is also involved in wheelchair basketball.
And he is back in the saddle riding a modified quad bike.