Bullies say Yes to Disability

The Alice Bullies hockey team has a secret weapon.

The team, which is in its ninth Games, has signed a 46-year-old star player – who is hearing impaired.

Simon Witney, from Queensland, is the team’s goalie and team mate Darryl Smith said “he’s unbelievable”.

“He’s an amazing man. We’re lucky to have him,” Smith said.

“As the goalie, he has the most important job and he’s fantastic.”

Smith said Witney’s lack of hearing was not an issue.

“What we do is put our team manager Arthur Gomes behind the goals,” he said.

“Don’t ask me how, but they point different ways and the message seems to get through.”

Witney plays in a deaf hockey league in Queensland and contacted the Alice Springs Masters Games hockey coordinator looking for a team to join.

“When I was contacted by the co-ordinator I thought how are we going to do this?,” Smith said.

“But it has worked.”

Smith, who is a striker, said when the team talked tactics, they just scribble down instructions on pieces of paper to Witney.

“It’s really not an issue and we’re having a lot of fun.

“I hope Simon decides to come back for the next Games.

“He’s a wonderful guy.”

The Alice Bullies are in the 44+ age division. There are only two teams in that competition so they are assured of a medal.