Australia have announced their men’s and women’s teams for the 2018 International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) World Championships, which will be held from 14-27 August in Hamburg, Germany.
Both teams feature 12 athletes, with the men’s squad aiming for a third straight world title, while the women’s side seek redemption from a disappointing 2014 World Championship campaign.
Australia earned their spot in Hamburg after going undefeated at the 2017 Asian-Oceania Zonal qualifiers, and eleven members return from that team.
Steven Elliott is the latest addition, giving youth and flexibility in the line-up.
“The strength of the Rollers (Australian national team) is the mid-point group,” said head coach Craig Friday.
“With captain Shaun Norris, Tom O’Neill Thorne (3.0), Kim Robins (3.0), Luke Pople (2.5) and Steven Elliott (3.5), we have some different skill sets that combine well to play a style we think will hold up internationally.”
In addition to the mid-point line-up, Friday believes the chance to work with several different combinations on court will help in consistency across each game as well as the duration throughout the tournament.
“Jannik Blair (1.0), Sam White (1.0) and Matt McShane (1.5) fill the low-point positions and all three can mix and match through our line-ups while their ability to score and finish will be a great asset.
“The Rollers continue to have great strength in the 4.0 position as well with several options that can support the mid-point group or create a power line-up of their own.”
The Australian men’s team is the second most successful country in tournament history, following gold medals in 2014 and 2010 as well as a bronze in 2006.
Latham, Norris, Knowles, Blair, O’Neill-Thorne, Pople player-turned-assistant coach Brad Ness were all a part of that 2014 Championship effort.
Michael Auprince 4.0
Jannik Blair 1.0
Steven Elliott 3.5
Tristan Knowles 4.0
Bill Latham 4.0
Matthew McShane 1.5
Shaun Norris (captain) 3.0
Tom O’Neill-Thorne 3.0
Luke Pople 2.5
Kim Robins 3.0
Brett Stibners 4.0
Samuel White 1.0
The women’s team are looking to better their bronze medal performances from the 1994, 1998 and 2002 editions; as well as make up for not qualifying for the Rio 2016 Paralympics.
“The group has bonded extremely well over the past 12 months and have had a great preparation leading up the World Champs,” head coach David Gould said.
“We have a good mix of youth and experience.
“The four-point position is a strength of the Gliders and we will look to use them in different combinations with the likes of Amber Merritt, Cobi Crispin, Georgia Munro Cook and Annabelle Lindsay all owning different assets we can utilise.
“Our one-pointers also have the ability to work in combination with our high’s while oppositions will have to be cautious about our mid-pointers who offer speed, aggression, and experience.
“The entire team is extremely excited with the opportunity to further themselves on the international stage and I feel this is the closest the group has been in years.”
Shelley Chaplin 3.5
Cobi Crispin 4.0
Shelley Cronau 2.5
Leanne Del Toso 3.5
Hannah Dodd 1.0
Kylie Gauci 2.0
Annabelle Lindsay 4.5
Amber Merritt 4.5
Georgia Munro-Cook 4.5
Clare Nott 1.0
Ella Sabljak 1.0
Sarah Vinci 1.0