Nine Olympians but an entire squad of debutants have been named in Australia’s 22-man squad for the Volleyball World League, which kicks off in Belgium later this month.
None of the Australians have ever played World League, as this year will be the first time the Volleyroos, have played in this competition since the 1990’s.
But the team earned their place after qualifying for the London Olympics, where they just failed to make the tournament’s quarter finals.
Since London, Australia has qualified for this year’s World Volleyball Championships in Poland, and is currently ranked 14th in the world.
“We can see our team evolving,” coach Jon Uriarte said.
‘After London we lost a couple of players, but our younger players are developing well. All our players are doing better now than they were last year.
“But of course no-one in our squad has had any World League experience, and that is a really tough challenge.”
Illawarra’s Aidan Zingal will captain the Volleyroos, which includes seven International debutants.
212-centimetre Tom Edgar is the lynchpin of the Volleyroos, one of six members of the World League squad to have played more than 100 Internationals for Australia.
South Australia’s Nathan Roberts is the most experienced member of the squad, having racked up 273 games for Australia.
The four West Australian’s named in the squad are Lewis McDonald, Luke Perry, Luke Smith & Sam Walker.
Australia will take on Belgium, Finland and Canada in their division, and are guaranteed progression to the semi-finals after successfully bidding to host the event in Sydney in July.
Uriarte is warning it will be a challenging couple of months for the Volleyroos.
“Belgium and Finland have both qualified for this year’s World Championships, so they are very good sides,” he said.
“They are tough but it is not impossible. There is no doubt today we are behind, but we will improve. We are ready to take the next step.”
Three of Australia’s games will be played in Australia and a group final.
The Volleyroos leave Australia this afternoon to head to Europe to prepare for the opening round of the World League, against Belgium on the weekend of May 23-25.
The full squad is;
Aidan ZINGEL (C) – NSW
2 Jacob GUYMER – QLD
3 Nathan ROBERTS – SA
4 Paul SANDERSON – VIC
5 Travis PASSIER – QLD
6 Thomas EDGAR – QLD
7 Harrison PEACOCK – SA
8 Lewis McDONALD – WA
9 Adam WHITE – QLD
10 Ben BELL – QLD
11 Luke PERRY – WA
12 Nehemiah MOTE – NSW
13 Sam WALKER – WA
14 Grigory SUKOCHEV – NSW
15 Tom DOUGLAS-POWELL – QLD
16 Luke SMITH – WA
17 Paul CARROLL – NSW
18 Lincoln WILLIAMS – QLD
19 Jordan RICHARDS – VIC
20 Alex McMULLIN – QLD
21 Arash DOSANJH – NSW
22 Trent O’DEA – QLD