The Honour Roll recognises past State and
Territory and National Award recipients
2019 NSW Local Hero Nominee
Mr George TonnaState: New South Wales
George Tonna has used his own experience of cerebral palsy to create opportunities for others living with disability. He is founder of the NSW Physical Disability Rugby League Association which gives players with a disability the chance to experience the exhilaration of football – and celebrate their sporting ability.
George Tonna says he is 'lucky' to a have disability – 'because it's made me who I am today'. He's used his own experience of cerebral palsy as a catalyst for positive action – creating opportunities for others living with disability.
A father of three and South Sydney Rabbitohs fanatic, George represented Australia as Vice-Captain in soccer at the 2000 Paralympic Games. Then in 2010, he formed the NSW Physical Disability Rugby League Association (NSW PDRLA), giving players with disability a chance to experience the exhilaration of playing football and celebrate their sporting ability.
The NSW PDRLA now has five clubs across Sydney, made up of players with cerebral palsy, acquired brain injury, vision and hearing impairments, and amputees.
For the 2014 NAIDOC celebrations, George and Souths Cares set up the first physical disability representative rugby league match, between Combined Indigenous Nations and NSW PDRLA All-Stars. The event is now the highlight of the season, showcasing the abilities of both the teams.