‘It will be a watershed moment’: Pyne on historic Pararoos match 19 years in the making

If any of the Pararoos are feeling are little anxious ahead of their first international on home soil in 19 years on Saturday night, they can turn to Chris Pyne for advice.

Pyne and skipper David Barber – who will make his 100th Pararoos appearance against Canada at Cromer Park – both played for Australia at the Paralympics in Sydney in 2000.

That was the last time the Pararoos have played an international on Australia soil but that drought will end at Cromer Park this weekend.

"I understand what it means because I’ve done it. I was 16 and I was a very small teenager back [in 2000] and I didn’t really know what it meant to play in front of a home crowd,” Pyne said on Fox Sports news on Tuesday.

“Now having played so much I really understand it. For David Barber and myself it will be a watershed moment because it’s about the young Pararoos who weren’t even born [back in 2000].

SQUAD: Pararoos squad for Canada confirmed
READ MORE: ‘You try and hold back tears’: Pararoos relishing drought-breaking home clash


“It’s about them getting recognised and them getting a name for themselves and the Pararoos getting a name and getting their message out there that we are alongside the Socceroos and Matildas.

“CP football is a magnificent spectacle. I hope everyone who thinks about going gets out there, they won’t be disappointed.”

Pyne, who brought up his century of Pararoos games at this year’s World Cup in Spain, said the youngsters in the squad will They don’t know it yet but when they step out on the field on Saturday night they will “get the rush of their lives” when they step out in front of friends and family on Saturday.

He also hopes the occasion will show kids that have cerebral palsy and acquired brain injury that they too can one day become a Pararoo and give them a pathway to achieve success.

“Living with a disability, I’ve come to terms with it, it’s quite difficult and you need to face a lot more challenges than someone who is able bodied,” he said.

“But our motto is we’re undefeated against disability. This program truly gives young kids and these young players an avenue to say ’yes I have a disability but I’m going to own it and still strive as well as any other athlete out there’.

I remember having a conversation in the hospital bed with my mum and dad [when I was younger]. I was paralysed down the right side of my body and I said to them ‘can I play football this season?’

“Obviously they said no and I had to go through a bit more but football was the driver for me and its been a driver in a lot of young people’s lives.”

100% of ticket sales from the match will be invested into the Pararoos, helping to ensure that there are continued opportunities for the squad.

READ MORE: The importance of playing on home soil
READ MORE: FFA to host first Pararoos match on home soil since Sydney 2000


Kick-off is at 5.30pm AEDT with tickets on sale now at pararoos.com.au

Pararoos 14-Player Squad | Australia v Canada – International Friendly | Saturday, 30 November 2019 | Cromer Park, Cromer, NSW

Name (Cap)


International Caps (Goals)

Ben ATKINS (27)

New South Wales

70 (8)

David Barber (C) (1)


99 (70)

Christopher BARTY (35)

Western Australia

33 (0)

Timothy BLOWES

New South Wales

0 (0)

Jeremy BOYCE

New South Wales

0 (0)

Connor BUNCE (55)

Western Australia

7 (4)

Daniel CAMPBELL (53)

New South Wales

13 (2)

Cosimo CIRILLO (49)


8 (1)

Matthew HEARNE (46)


20 (2)

Taj LYNCH (51)

New South Wales

14 (1)

Angus MACGREGOR (44)


10 (1)

Augustine MURPHY (52)

New South Wales

9 (1)

Christopher PYNE (2)

New South Wales

102 (20)

Benjamin ROCHE (16)

New South Wales

52 (28)

Pararoos v Canada

Date: Saturday, 30 November 2019
Venue: Cromer Park (South Creek Road, Cromer, NSW)
Kick-off: 5.30pm AEDT
Tickets: Tickets on sale now via pararoos.com.au (100 per cent of ticket sales invested back into the Pararoos)