The Australians Rollers Defeat Iran at the AOZ Championships
GAME 3 – AUS v IRI
The Rollers were heading into the game ready to compete with Iran who had previously defeated them in Japan in August.
The first quarter had both teams play at a high speed alongside a lot of physicality. Shaun Norris was the standout in the quarter collecting eight points and providing the outside shooting that gave the Rollers a four-point lead heading into the second quarter.
The Australians displayed early dominance after the first break and started with a six to zero scoring run thanks to impressive plays from both Tom O’Neill-Thorne and Billy Latham. The Rollers played tough defence which caused frustration among the Iran team. The efforts of the Australians showed on the scoreboard, heading into the half-time break with an 11-point lead.
The third quarter was a relentless battle between the defence of both teams. Kim Robins’ speed alongside Tom O’Neill-Thorne’s mid-range shots put them in a good position at the final break with a 15-point lead. Luke Pople and Matt McShane both played their roles with full court pressure defence.
Leading 58 – 43 in the final term, the Australians fought hard to keep this lead, subbing in Clarence McCarthy, Brett Stibners and Michael Auprince which pushed the margin out to 20 points with only minutes of play left. When the final siren sounded the Rollers secured their third win at 78-55.
Norris, O’Neill-Thorne and Robins were the standouts on the day, with O’Neill-Thorne collecting a team-high 18 points and eight assists.
Head Coach Craig Friday said that it was a great turn up from the Rollers after their disappointing loss to Iran in August.
“They challenged our guys, but we got in a good push,” Friday said.
“To show what we have put into our system and to demonstrate that it is accountable at the international level is really rewarding.”
The Australian Rollers have continued their winning streak in Thailand, defeating Iran by 23 points.
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