The smiles. The big, larger than life smiles were hard to miss on the faces of the almost 80 participants that took part in the inaugural Heroes with Ability gala day on Friday at Peter Miller Oval in Casula.
The gala day was the culmination of a 10-week rugby league program for people with physical and intellectual disabilities designed to inspire, teach and motivate participants.
Every Friday, clients from disability services provider Afford would travel from across Sydney - including Green Valley and Canley Vale - to attend the sessions and learn the basics of rugby league like passing and catching.
The gala day saw players split across four teams Bulldogs, Sea Eagles, Rabbitohs and Tigers allowing participants to meet new people and forge friendships.
Heroes with Ability directors George Tonna and Marco Quintao ran the sessions which they hope will become a regular event.
George has used his own experience with cerebral palsy to create opportunities for others living with disability establishing the NSW Physical Disability Rugby League Association in 2010.
Marco, whose son Marco junior has both a physical and intellectual disability, said the feedback he has got has been "amazing".
"I've got text messages from parents saying all their kids talk about is rugby league now," he said.
"We had people who didn't know how to catch a ball and now they are playing as part of a team which is what we focus on building.
"A lot of them have gone from saying 'I don't do sports' to waiting for the bus to come every Friday. They will be disappointed the program is over."
Fittingly, Bulldogs legend Chris Anderson was the special guest to present the Bulldogs team with the inaugural Afford shield - but truth be told they were all winners.