The Road to Bruneck has always been a long one for the Australian Teams. Not only is the travel time a major factor every year (flight of 12-14 hours, layover 3-5 hours, another flight of 7 hours, lastly by train to Bruneck 4-6 hours), but this epic journey starts with the challenges faced by a country on the other side of the globe, with their players spread over the 6th largest country in the world! Despite these challenges, the battling “Rolleroos” turn up every year, and have done since the beginning, with the enthusiasm and spirit that inspires the whole tournament.
Australia Inline National Chair, Chef de Mission for Team Australia, and MIHWA committee member and all around legendary player Duane Voss stated: “This is Australia’s biggest contingent of personnel travelling to the MIHWA Masters Tournament, with 40 players representing in all three categories, 2 bench managers and 17 family and friends in proud support. Our expectations are high for the teams this year, our best teams to represent in years. We should be more competitive than ever before”.
Preparation for this year for the Aussies started way back in July ’22, where The Coaches were selected and embarked on selecting the players for their respective teams at the Inline Hockey Australia National Championships in September 2022. The 3 coaches (Dwayne Pereira for Masters, Adrian Madden for the Veterans, Steve Seabrook for the Legends) Once the Teams were selected, meetings are organised were held over the next 7 months to go over the Financials, Accommodation, Tournament Structure, Travel, Passport, Team Play, Lines, Nutrition and Off Rink Preparation. A huge undertaking, but Australia pride themselves on being one of the best turned-out teams every year. Said Duane: “The on rink and off rink uniforms this year are looking fantastic, looking good makes you feel great and assists with the confidence in Players”. “All Players and Coaches are excited to get going this year, lots of chatter within the players in each state of Australia about having a great tournament, playing hard, playing disciplined and having fun are high on the list of expectations”.
Australia also has 2 x Official Referees this year, Mark O’Brien and Andrew Crowther. Another example of the value that Australia adds to this tournament every year. Officially, the Aussie contingent will arrive in Bruneck 5 days prior to the Tournament, kicking off a 4 day training camp consisting of practises on rink, off rink training and exhibition games against one of the other Countries participating and against a local Italian Team. Duane concludes “All Players, Coaches and Personnel are looking forward to the Masters Tournament, there are players who have not had this experience so far and are excited for the opportunity they have been given. The players who have been before loved the experience and want more! Overall, the excitement and anticipation of the Masters Tournament has been building over the last 6 months with every meeting, game and training. We can’t wait to arrive!”
So bring your cork hats, your beach singlets, your thongs and your budgie smugglers and join the party! You know the Aussies will be there, Koalas and forfeits close at hand, and raising the roof for their battling Rolleroos, ready to roll in to another world cup like an outback thunderstorm! G’day!