Team 22: Kicking goals for spinal cord injury survivors

On March 18, 2019 we officially launched the Team 22 initiative on behalf of the Robert Rose Foundation. See the media release below:




Media release – for immediate release
Monday 18 March 2019

The Robert Rose Foundation (RRF), a charity that raises funds for spinal cord injury survivors, is set to launch an exciting initiative – Team 22. The launch will take place on Friday 12 April to coincide with Collingwood’s AFL Round 4 clash with the Western Bulldogs at the MCG with plans to ‘toss the coin for Team 22’ involving many surburban and regional football leagues

Named after former Collingwood player Robert Rose who became a quadriplegic at age 22 following a car accident, the Robert Rose Foundation was founded by Robert’s family 20 years ago in recognition of his zest for life before and after his debilitating injury. The RRF raises money to help survivors of spinal cord injury enjoy a better life across three distinct pillars of support:

• Practical: providing equipment to assist survivors via a grant system
• Psychological: One on one mental health support via a buddy system and psychological support services
• Participation: The opportunity to fully participate in life via a range of activities including the foundation’s sponsorship of the Victoria Wheelchair Football League (VWFL)

The number 22 is significant for several intersecting reasons: Bob Rose, Collingwood’s legendary player and coach wore the number 22 as did his son, Robert who was also 22 when he had his accident. The number 22 embodies the power of two people coming together to support each to live their best lives, just like Robert.

To this end, Team 22 has secured the support from several ambassadors for whom 22 is also significant, namely:

• Steele Sidebottom, current Collingwood Football Club player who wears the number 22 guernsey
• Tony Shaw, former Collingwood Football Club player – Number 22
• Brendan Stroud, Collingwood Football Club VWFL Captain - Number 22

Further, spokesperson and ambassador, Beau Vernon is a wheelchair-bound, dual premiership winning coach of able-bodied senior teams in the West Gippsland Football Netball competition. Beau was an aspiring footballer before a freak injury on the footy field cut his dreams and ambitions short. Beau had won many club and association awards and was on the road to a promising football career, playing in the TAC Premiership team with Collingwood’s Scott Pendlebury before his accident.

Unwilling to let his injury define him, Beau, with the strong support of his community and partner Lucy (the power of two), lives his best life, residing at Phillip Island, coaching his senior football teams to two recent premierships and raising two young children. He is an inspirational speaker and advocate for the support required to get through such a life-changing event.

Speaking of his own experience, Beau said, “When my accident occurred, I was understandably devastated, and my vision of my future was shattered. With the incredible support of Lucy, my family, friends and wider community, I was able to get through it and rebuild the best version of me. Without it …... I don’t know what would have happened. Now I coach footy, surf, play golf – with modified equipment – and am a father to two beauties. The work that the Robert Rose Foundation does, supporting survivors with equipment, participation opportunities and most importantly, mental health and wellbeing services, cannot be underestimated. It’s vital. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t had the same from my community.”

The launch events will include a VWFL activation between MCG gates 3 & 4 prior to the match and an appearance by various Wheelchair footballers on the ground at quarter time.

Head to for more information and fundraising opportunities.


ABOUT TEAM 22: Game on for a better life
Team 22 is the latest fundraising initiative by the Robert Rose Foundation who have been raising funds for spinal cord injury survivors for 20 years. Their aim is to raise $500,000 in much needed funds to continue and expand the reach of their support, harnessing all that the power of 2 brings.

Their support primarily focuses on 3 key areas:
• Practical: equipment and house/car modification
• Mental: one on one mental health support via a buddy system and psychological support services
• Participation: opportunities to get involved in activities including the VWFL

Team 22 has worked closely with the AFL, Collingwood FC and the Western Bulldogs FC to bring the initiative to life as part of their clash at the ‘G’ during Round 4 – Friday 14 April. This will become an annual event on the AFL calendar in years to come.

Team 22 is supported by the VWFL; AFL Victoria; Disability Sports and Recreation; Collingwood Football Club; Western Bulldogs Football Club; the CBD Group and the Twenty3 Group amongst others.

Team 22’s ambassadors include:
Beau Vernon; Steele Sidebottom; Tony Shaw; Brendan Stroud; Other AWFL captains: Marcus Sander (St Kilda), Luis Rowe (Essendon), Matt Morris (Richmond) and Peter Ogunyemi (Hawthorn).