REGGIO CALABRIA, ITALY: Australia’s mens indoor volleyball team the “Volleryoos” have stunned world heavy weights Italy and Germany in consecutive warm up matches ahead of next weeks inaugural FIVB Volleyball Nations League (VNL).
They might be ranked 16th in the world but the helloworld travel Volleyroos have shown in their warm up matches they are capable and ready to take some big scalps in the upcoming all new Volleyball Nations League.
Thousand of Italian fans packed the Reggio Calabria stadium in Italy to cheer on their side but it was the Aussies stealing the show and the locals didn't seem to mind, mobbing the visitors after the match for "selfies".
“We knew playing here in Italy there was going to be a big crowd and we knew making our own energy was going to be important. I think we did a really good job of that consistently across the match and that for sure helped us get across the line.” said helloworld travel Volleyroos Jordan Richards after the win.
Many experts are writing off the helloworld travel Volleyroos as serious contenders for the VNL claiming their ranking and loss of some big names will see them struggle but Australia’s two surprise victories over world number four Italy 3-2 (16-25; 25-18; 25-20; 19-25; 17-15) and world number ten Germany also 3-2 (22-25; 25-20; 30-28; 13-25; 15-10) has the rest of the world sitting up and taking notice.
“We’ve been trying to play with an aggressive attitude and we’ve been working on that hard in training. We were able to convert today so it’s great.” said Richards.
helloworld travel Volleyroos coach Mark Lebedew was pleased his men weren't overawed by the highly ranked Italians.
“The performance after the first set was the most pleasing, we were a bit nervous and a little bit too respectful. After that we played our game without
fear, without inhibition and could really match it with the Italians who we have nothing to fear, not from the Italians nor anybody else.” said Lebedew.
“It's the perfect start to our competition period. We were able to rotate the whole squad and we have established some good rhythm that we will need next
The Aussies have one more friendly against Italy before moving on to France to officially begin their VNL Campaign against world number 12 ranked Japan.
The VNL is set to revolutionise international Volleyball with the top 16 nations having to play each other once in a fast, furious and gruelling five week tournament played across 21 different countries.
Australia is one of the host countries and the last stop on the VNL five week tour which will see world champions Poland, Olympic champions Brazil and Pan American champions Argentina all coming to Melbourne’s Hi-Sense Arena June 22-24 to take on the Aussies.
Australian fans should act fast to secure tickets for the VNL in Melbourne June 22-24 though Ticketek. Click here for tickets.