The Australian Rollers have headed to Japan for the Mitsubishi World Challenge Cup, a four-nation tournament that will serve as a lead-up to the IWBF World Championships which will be held in Germany from August 16-26.

The Rollers will come up against host nation Japan as well as Canada and Germany, providing the Aussies with the chance to hone their skills and game style against quality international competition that will also participate in the World Championships later this year.

Experienced campaigner Shaun Norris will lead the team, taking over the captaincy role from Brad Ness who has moved into the Rollers’ assistant coach role.

“Shaun leads by example and executes the required game plan,” said Rollers head coach Craig Friday.

“He has earned great respect from his team mates and staff members alike.”

Joining Norris will be Rio Paralympic team mates Tristan Knowles, Brett Stibners, Jannik Blair, Bill Latham, Matt McShane and Tom O’Neill-Thorne to add to the team’s experience.

“The Rollers have been working hard in their home ports as well as competing head-to-head in the NWBL,” said Friday.

“The squad was not happy with the results at the Rio Paralympics and have been working extremely hard on conditioning, chair skills, speed and fundamentals, to hopefully provide a bit of an edge as a group, and step back into contention in Germany in August.”

In addition, Steven Elliott will inject some youth into the team alongside the likes of Michael Auprince, Sam White, Luke Pople and Kim Robins.

“I am looking forward to working on another combination or two with the addition and added flexibility of having a 3.5 class player in Elliott. In those new line-ups, we can rotate all players through and maintain intensity for longer periods of time,” said Friday.

Australia will prepare for the World Challenge Cup with a couple of practice games before taking on Canada, Japan and Germany over two days in the pool stage with the gold and bronze medal games then being held on the last day of competition.

“We are excited to be returning to this well-run event and it is a great opportunity to test our groups’ progress against quality opposition, especially Germany and Canada who are two teams that we have not seen in international competition for a while now.”

In addition to the Rollers tour, the Gliders have also headed to Japan for a friendly five-game series.

Follow along with the official website for the World Challenge Cup here.

The Australian Rollers World Challenge Cup Schedule (all times AEST):

June 8: Rollers vs. Canada at 5:45pm
June 9: Rollers vs. Japan at 12:25pm
June 9: Rollers vs. Germany at 5:35pm
June 10: Bronze Medal Game at 12:25pm
June 10: Gold Medal Game at 5:15pm

The Australian Rollers Team for the 2018 World Challenge Cup:

Athlete NameClassificationState
Jannik Blair1.0VIC
Samuel White1.0SA
Matthew McShane1.5QLD
Luke Pople2.5NSW
Shaun Norris (Captain)3.0WA
Tom O’Neill-Thorne3.0QLD
Kim Robins3.0WA
Steven Elliott3.5QLD
Brett Stibners4.0NSW
Michael Auprince4.0NSW
Bill Latham4.0QLD
Tristan Knowles4.0VIC
Staff NameRole
Craig FridayHead Coach
Shane FurnessAsst. Coach
Grant MizensAsst. Coach
Priyanka KarunakaranTeam Manager
Ryan CampbellPhysiotherapist
Scott BrennanTeam Doctor

By Basketball Australia
Posted: 07/06/2018

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