15/04/2024

The Team Australia squad set to compete at the 2023 IQA World Cup. Picture: Ajantha Abey Photography

For the first time since 2018, the International Quadball Association (IQA) World Cup is taking place after COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the 2020, and the originally rescheduled 2021 event, and will see 15 nations face-off in Richmond, Virginia from the 15th to the 17th of July.

The Inner Sanctum takes a look at Team Australia, as well as take a look at some of the other key pieces of information to make sure you are well prepared for the 2023 IQA World Cup.

Team Australia

Australia last competed at the IQA European Games in 2022, finishing third after beating Norway in the third place playoff.

The Team

Australia will be sending a full playing squad of 21, plus four alternates.

Brandon Frison, Callum Mayling, Cameron Walker, Caroline Crawford, Edward Vienet, Hannah Walravens, Harrison Jones, Jakob Sutherland, Jessica Lindley, Joshua Lindley, Kaysanne Hockey, Kelsey Collins, Luke Derrick (also head coach), Madeleine Bell, Max Brenner, Nat Astolosh, Nathan Morton (Vice-captain), Nicki Redman, Olivia Coleman, Ruth Creffield, Samantha Chittenden (Captain), and Simon Spann make up the playing squad of 21.

The four alternates are Ashan Abey, Ava McConnell, Joe Dodd, and Nicola Gertler.

Who to watch out for on Australia

The easy answer here is to say ‘watch everyone’, as all of these players are the elite of the elite when it comes to quadball in Australia.

But we’ve gone to the trouble of selecting four players you should pay extra attention to as you watch Australia compete at the World Cup.

Nathan Morton

Vice-Captain Nathan Morton in action, as he prepares to launch a dodgeball. Photo Credit: Ajantha Abey Photography/Facebook

Widely considered one of Australia’s greatest ever players, the usefulness of a player like Morton comes from his utility play, which is how he’s been named in this squad.

No stranger to those who follow or play the sport, his reputation precedes him at times, and his presence on the pitch will help turn any game in favour of the side that has him wearing its jersey.

The versatility and experience he brings, having been at three World Cups, including as part of the 2016 Australian squad that won the title, shows exactly why he has been named the vice-captain. He will be crucial to Australia’s chances to go deep in the World Cup.

Luke Derrick

Head Coach Luke Derrick in action in a training session prior to the 2022 European Games. Photo Credit: Ajantha Abey Photography/Facebook

Luke Derrick’s unmatched strategic knowledge, strong and yet precise beats, and his ability to encourage those around him make him an asset to any team, which make him an excellent selection as the Dropbears coach for this World Cup.

While Derrick has been named as a beater, his volleyball play is nothing to take lightly either, and he can easily step in to fill a role as keeper if required.

Having had World Cup and State Shield success, Derrick will be keen to make his mark on the World Cup stage once again and help Australia en route to lifting the trophy.

Nicki Redman

Nicki Redman in action at last years National Championships for the Sunshine Coast Scorpions. Picture: Shot by Bec

Making her Dropbears debut, Redman only started playing the sport in 2022, and was a key member of the Queensland Thunderbirds at the 2022 State Shield.

In our preview series, when speaking with Cameron Walker and Harry Jones, both pointed out Redman as a player to watch, with Jones describing her as fierce, smart, ready to fight, and bringing a lot of good energy to the team.

As a beater, Redman will be working with a lot of high-level veterans who will get the best out of her, and expect her to shine at the World Cup.

Samantha Chittenden

Team Captain Samantha Chittenden in possession of the volleyball. Photo Credit: Ajantha Abey Photography

Chittenden has been making quite a name for herself in recent years within Australian quadball, and will captain the side for the second straight tournament.

Chittenden’s ability to get into the right spaces, find her teammates, and use her athleticism at both ends of the pitch make her a key part of Australia’s chaser line-up.

Her skills will be on full display across the World Cup, and her leadership will be vital for Team Australia.

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The Contenders

The perennial tournament favourites are the USA, who have won three of the four World Cups to date (Australia were victorious in 2016), but as the sport continues to grow, there are plenty of nations who hope to challenge for the title.

Germany

Germany, who finished second at last year’s European Games, are a rising nation in the sport, and will be hoping to peak at the right time and build on last year’s second place finish.

A game against Australia in pool play highlights day one for both sides, in an eagerly anticipated match after their semi-final last year at European Games. This match should decide top of the group, and both sides will be hoping to win for the best possible path in the championship bracket.

England celebrate after defeating Germany in the final of the 2022 IQA European Games. Picture: Ajantha Abey Photography

England

England, winners of last year’s European Games, will consider themselves to be a favourite, but a tough group makes that no easy feat.

France and Mexico could create some problems for the English, and the unknown of Team India could mean England face an unenviable draw on day two if they qualify for the championship bracket.

Belgium

Belgium finished second in 2018 after making a run to the final before losing to Team USA, and the two sides will meet on day one in pool play.

The side showed what can happen in 2018 if you get hot at the right time, and after a disappointing European Games performance, losing to Norway in the quarter-finals, will be eager to bounce back.

Australia

What you can expect out of Australia is a team that will pick the best strategy to take out their opponents as they aim to secure victory.

With a wide variety of players making up the squad, all of whom have different skill sets, and a mix of veteran and newer players intertwined throughout, the side will be capable of executing the different play strategies and styles required to win regardless of who is on the pitch. 

The match against Germany should decide top spot in the group, but with matches against Canada, Japan, and Brazil, Australia will need to pull all of its tricks out of the bag to maximise its chances of ideal positioning in the group for a deep run in the tournament.

USA

The USA are perennial favourites for a reason. They are just so good at what they do, and have some of the best players in the world at their disposal.

Team USA will be aiming for its fourth IQA World Cup title in Richmond, Virginia. Picture: Ajantha Abey Photography

Winning will be the expectation, especially on home soil, but as 2016 showed, in a one-off game anything can happen, and whoever meets the USA at any stage during the championship bracket will be hoping to pull off an upset.

The Debutants

There are several teams making their debuts at this tournament with India, African Nations, and Japan all looking to impress.

India

India comprises mostly of USA based players as quadball is currently not being played in India. 

The unknown comes from the fact the side has not really been able to train together in the lead-up, but have done a lot of team bonding virtually to create team unity.

There is a lot of talent throughout the line-up, and could create a challenge for anyone they play against.

African Nations

Much like India, African Nations comprises of USA based players who all have an African background.

While the sport is growing in Africa, it is still quite new, and the hope from the coach James Hicks, is that the African Nations side competing will help grow the sport in Africa.

Making their tournament debut, there is a lot of talent in the squad and it will be fascinating to see how they play.

Japan

Also making their tournament debut, quadball in Japan has only existed since 2017, but have found success at international club tournaments.

With players from every club in Japan, the side has a diverse make-up of talent, and will be hoping to show the world they are to be taken seriously.

A tough group awaits them, but getting to the championship bracket is not out of the question.

Day One Highlights

There are several matches that stand out as “must-watch” during pool play on day one.

Kicking off the tournament across the three pitches in use are Austria v India, Hong Kong v African Nations and Canada v Japan at 8:30am local time, which will be the debut matches of India, African Nations, and Japan, making those must-watch.

Germany and Australia in action at the 2022 IQA European Games. Picture: Ajantha Abey Photography

Australia v Germany at 1:10pm (local time) sees the two meet for the first time since their European Games semi-final.

England and France face-off at 4:40pm (local time) is the match which could decide the top of the group and should provide a fascinating game of quadball for the neutral to watch.

At 5:50pm local time, the USA take on Belgium, who played the 2018 World Cup final against each other, and Belgium will be looking to enact revenge for that defeat in a match that could decide who finished top of the group.

Day Two

With the unknowns of the championship bracket, which will be decided at the end of pool play on day one, it is hard to preview day two.

What you can expect from day two is every team who makes the championship bracket eager to compete to make and win the final, which will treat viewers to high quality competitive quadball, and makes all of day two a must watch.

The IQA World Cup takes place in Richmond, Virginia from 15-17 July, with the IQA streaming every game on YouTube.

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