The Australian Rollers team has been named ahead of the IWBF Asia Oceania Qualification (AOZ) tournament to be held in Beijing, China from October 20-28.

14 nations will compete for qualification through to the 2018 IWBF World Championship in Hamburg, Germany in August 2018 but only four teams will advance.

Host nation China are expected to put up a strong fight on home soil while long-term AOZ rivals Japan, Korea and Iran will also provide strong opposition for the Rollers.

Australian head coach Craig Friday has been focussed on developing flexibility with new line-ups as well as focussing on the fitness, speed and agility of the entire squad with these attributes paramount to their style of play.

“We have made one change from the team we took to Japan for the Mitsubishi World Challenge with Shawn Russell replacing Josh Allison,” said Friday.

“This tournament is another great opportunity for our mid-point line-up in Shaun Norris, Tom O’Neill-Thorne and Kim Robins to get valuable time together and be further exposed at the international level.

“Luke Pople (2.5) and Matt McShane (1.5) provide solid support and a different mid-point combination look as well.”

The Rollers have a proud history at the AOZ qualifiers and will be keen to retain their mantle as the number one team to come out of the region.

“The four-point position is a strength of ours and we will look to use them in a few different combinations with Tristan Knowles, Brett Stibners, Bill Latham, Michael Auprince and Russell all having different assets we can use,” said Friday.

“We are carrying two one-pointers in Jannik Blair and Sam White who will need to be sharp and switched on as they will get to play with most combinations we have on the floor.”

The Rollers have their final preparation camp in Canberra at Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence from October 16-20 before heading to Beijing with their first game on October 23.

The Australian Rollers team for the 2017 AOZ Qualifiers:

PlayerNWBL ClubClass
Shawn RussellKilsyth Cobras4.0
Bill LathamBrisbane Spinning Bullets4.0
Samuel WhiteRed Dust Heelers1.0
Shaun NorrisPerth Wheelcats3.0
Kim RobinsPerth Wheelcats3.0
Tristan KnowlesKilsyth Cobras4.0
Jannik BlairRed Dust Heelers1.0
Tom O’Neill-ThorneBrisbane Spinning Bullets3.0
Matt McShaneBrisbane Spinning Bullets1.5
Luke PopleWollongong Rollerhawks2.5
Brett StibnersWollongong Rollerhawks4.0
Michael AuprinceWollongong Rollerhawks4.0


Craig FridayHead Coach
Brad NessAssistant Coach
Shane FurnessAssistant/Technical Coach
Grant MizensSpecialist Coach
Jesse AdamsPhysiotherapist
Pablo JimenezTeam Manager
Peta ForsythPhysiologist

The Australian Rollers Schedule for the 2017 IWBF AOZ Qualifiers (all times AEST):

October 23: Rollers v Iraq at 6pm
October 24: Rollers v Chinese Taipei at 4.15pm
October 26: Quarter-finals
October 27: Semi-finals
October 28: Bronze and Gold Medal Games

By Basketball Australia

Posted: 6/10/2017

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