The Australian men’s volleyball team preparing for the upcoming Asian Championships have been strengthened by the return of Tom Edgar and Nehemiah Mote.
Edgar, one of the biggest names in the sport, hasn’t played for the Volleyroos since the 2016 Olympic qualifiers. He has been one of the stars in the Japanese league and returned to training with the team prior to the first stage of the Olympic qualifiers in Italy, but didn’t play in the tournament.
Nemo meanwhile, played in the first half of the Volleyball Nations League before being hampered by injury as well as the birth of his second child.
Volleyroos coach, Mark Lebedew, welcomes the return of Edgar and Nemo back into the team. Speaking from the team training camp on the Gold Coast where a squad of 14, plus one player from the junior team, are preparing for the Asian titles, Lebedew said, “It doesn’t hurt to have those players back. They have a big physical presence.”
Australia, ranked third in Asia behind Iran and Japan, will need to finish in the top eight at the Asian Championships to make it through to the Asian Olympic qualifying series in January.
The Volleyroos narrowly went down to Italy and Serbia in the first stage of the Olympic qualifiers before accounting for Cameroon. Lebedew says his side showed they can be a force in the sport; “We were six points away from qualifying for the Olympics. It provided us with realistic feedback on what’s required and how close we are to that next level.”
Lebedew says coming from that qualifying tournament into a camp on the Gold Coast; he has noticed a lift in intensity at training. He believes Iran at home poses the biggest threat with the team bolstered by massive fan support.
Australia heads to Doha next week before the Asian titles get underway in Iran on 13 September. The team then heads to the World Cup from 1-15 October in Japan.