The Australian Rollers have selected their team for the 2019 Asia Oceania Championships to be held in Pattaya, Thailand from the 27th November to 8th December.
Head Coach Craig Friday has named an experienced side, with 10 of the 12 players in the squad who won bronze last year at the 2018 World Championships in Hamburg, Germany, including the likes of captain Shaun Norris, Bill Latham, Brett Stibners, and Jannik Blair.
The two changes in the Rollers side see Tristan Knowles and Steven Elliott making way for the addition of Jay Dohnt and Clarence McCarthy-Grogan.
Commenting on the team selection, Friday said:
“We have selected a team that will allow us to try a different combination or two and give us more flexibility as a team, and to expose the depth of our group to see if we can stand up to quality international competition – can the athlete take the step from national league to international basketball.”
Australia has a proud legacy at the Asia Oceania Championships having never lost the tournament in its history, however Coach Friday admitted preparations for the tournament have been less than ideal:
“It’s been difficult. We have numerous athletes playing all over the world in Spain, Germany, and the USA. This is great for the individual as the competition is very good but it just doesn’t allow us to get together as frequently as we would like. In saying that, one of our strengths is for us to come together very quickly and confront all challenges. Australian based players have been working hard in their DTE as well as a couple of camps and are in good condition heading into this event.”
Brett Stibners is one of those players currently playing in Europe, for Spanish team Club Baloncesto Silla de Ruedas Valladolid, and he hopes this will prepare his game in the best possible way:
“I feel proud to be selected to represent the Rollers at the Asia Oceania Championships. Any time we get to play for Australia is special and the stakes are high for this tournament.
“I’ve set myself up in Spain for the lead into Tokyo. I’m hoping this gives me my best chance of being selected for the Paralympics. Playing games and being able to train in a competitive environment everyday has been helpful and playing with different people has challenged me and my game.”
Stibners is aware of the competition the Australian Rollers will face on their route to qualify for Tokyo, adding:
“The men’s teams in the Asia Oceania region are very strong and the recent results at the World Championships prove that with Australia beating Iran for the Bronze Medal. Japan have been a strong nation for a decade now and Korea are improving with every tournament they play.”
Friday agreed with Stibners:
“The competition inside our own zone is better than it has ever been and the challenge to defend our title has never been greater. Iran, Japan, Korea, Thailand and China all pose a different type of threat with different playing styles across each team. We will respect them all and make sure we are on song to look to qualify for Tokyo.”
This year the Asia Oceania Championships will introduce a new format with two Divisions. Australia will play in Division 1 against Korea, Thailand, China, Iran, and Japan to decide placings for the quarter-finals, where the top two teams from Division 2 will make up the quarter-final line-ups. Stibners is looking forward to the new structure:
“I like the set-up of the tournament because we get a chance to play every team before finals, so the length of the tournament and strength of the teams is going to provide us with some good, tough competition. This is also going to provide a lot of opportunity for all 12 players to contribute and give our coaching staff a lot of opportunity to try out combinations.”
The IWBF Asia Oceania Championships will form the qualification tournament for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, with three spots available after the automatic entry of host nation Japan. The Rollers will start their Asia Oceania Championships campaign against Korea on Saturday 30th November at 9.30am (local time).
|Shirt Number||Player Name||Sport Class||Age|
Australian Rollers Past Results
2018 – 3rd Bronze
2014 – 1st Gold
2010 – 1st Gold
2006 – 3rd Bronze
2002 – 4th
1998 – 4th
1994 – 6th
1990 – 5th
1986 – 10th
1983 – 11th
2016 – 6th
2012 – 2nd Silver
2008 – 1st Gold
2004 – 2nd Silver
2000 – 5th
1996 – 1st Gold
1992 – 7th
1988 – 10th