Rollers drop Mitsubishi Electric Cup opener to Iran

Rollers drop Mitsubishi Electric Cup opener to Iran

TOKYO - The Australian Rollers dropped their first game in the Mitsubishi Electric Cup overnight, falling 75-62 to Iran in Tokyo.

The tournament provides the Rollers with some valuable on court preparation ahead of the Asia-Oceania qualifiers for Tokyo 2020, to be held later this year. A point that wasn't lost on Australian coach, Craig Friday prior to Thursday nights game.

“This is our first time together for a few international games since the 2018 World Champs in Germany and with only 12 months to go our Paralympic campaign really starts to ramp up. We have a couple of new faces in the group in Jay Dohnt (Adelaide) and Clarence McCarthy-Grogan (Sydney) from the World Championships team, which will allow us to look at some more combinations on the court.”

The Rollers trailed from the outset against quality opposition, with the Iran team finishing fourth at the last World Championships.

A tight 27-21 first quarter proved unsustainable, as Iran continued to build on their lead in the second quarter, opening up a 42-32 edge at the half led by a pair of outstanding individual performances and crisp offence.

It was a blistering shooting performance from the Iranians, as Omid Hadiazhar (26 points) and Morteza Ebrahimi (22 points) combined to shoot 21-for-32 from the floor.

Rollers coach, Craig Friday lamented his team’s inability to get up and down the floor with their opponents.

“[It was a] poor game [with] no intensity and [we] got out pushed,” Friday said postgame.

Brett Stibners led the Rollers offence with 16 points, while Tom O’Neill-Thorne chipped in with 11 points.

“No flow in the offence and some poor decision making and execution as a team. Need to move on to the next game and try to find some intensity and our game style tomorrow,” Friday added.

The Rollers have little time to dwell on the disappointing opening, with their next game coming just 24 hours later against the host nation, Japan.