The Australian Rollers have landed in Tokyo as they continue preparations for the AOZ qualifiers later this year with a tournament against Japan, Turkey and Great Britain from August 31-September 2.

A team of 12 will represent the Rollers at the Mitsubishi Electric World Challenge Cup, ten of which competed in the most recent NWBL season.

“We have monitored what the guys have been doing in their own states as well as the NWBL,” said Rollers head coach, Craig Friday.

“We selected the team from a camp earlier this year as well as a mini-camp that occurred during the NWBL season.”

The recently crowned Champions, Wollongong Rollerhawks, have three players in Michael Auprince, Luke Pople and Brett Stibners who was named the Finals MVP.

The Kilsyth Cobras (Tristan Knowles and Joshua Allison), Perth Wheelcats (Shaun Norris and Kim Robins) and Queensland Spinning Bullets (Tom O’Neill-Thorne and Matt McShane) each have two representatives with Red Dust Heeler Jannik Blair rounding out the NWBL contingent alongside Bill Latham (Madrid, Spain) and Sam White (Wisconsin, USA).

“We’ve got a different looking line-up as for the first time in a couple of decades, we don’t have a 4.5 player in the line-up,” said Friday.

“A mid-point structure is something we have invested into and we are looking to expose it at international level.

“Moving forward, we hope to have a couple of those line-ups that we can run with in combination with our traditional five. We’re looking to expand and be able to play with more flexibility.”

This tournament also provides Australia with the opportunity to compete against talented teams after Japan finished ninth at the Rio Paralympics while Turkey fell to Great Britain in the bronze medal game.

“We are meeting a couple of arch-rivals which will be a great hit-out for our group,” said Friday.

“Turkey and Great Britain are teams on the rise as well as Japan who are in a similar position to us without a couple of their regular high-pointers.”

Following two practice games this week, the Rollers hit the court first against host nation Japan before playing a total of four games across three days.

Stay tuned for game reports on the BA website while BA's social media channels will provide links to any live streams courtesy of Japan basketball as they crop up.

The Australian Rollers Team for the World Challenge Cup:

Classification Surname First Name Position
1 White Samuel Forward
4 Latham Bill Centre
1 Allison Joshua Forward
3 Norris Shaun Guard
3 Robins Kim Guard
3 Knowles Tristan Guard
1 Blair Jannik Guard
3 O'Neill-Thorne Tom Guard
1.5 McShane Matthew Guard
2.5 Pople Luke Guard
4 Stibners Brett Forward
4 Auprince Michael Centre

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

August 31: Australia vs. Japan at 8.30pm
September 1: Australia vs. Great Britain at 11am
September 1: Australia vs. Turkey at 6.30pm
September 2: Final at 11.30am or 3.10pm