Team Australia, nicknamed The Dropbears, heads to Ireland for the IQA European Games to compete against 19 other nations from Europe and Hong Kong from 23-25 July (AEST).
The team is aiming to replicate the success of the 2016 IQA World Cup, in what will be Australia’s first international competition since the 2018 IQA World Cup.
Australia will be sending over a full playing squad of 21, plus four alternates, in addition to five non-playing members of the management team of six. Head coach, Nicola Gertler, is one of the 21 selected for the playing squad.
The playing team consists of:
Nathan Morton (Vice-captain)
Nicola Gertler (also Head coach)
Samantha Chittenden (Captain)
The alternates consists of:
The management team consists of:
Liam McCoppin (Assistant coach)
Matt Blissenden (Assistant Team Manager)
Nat Astalosh (Assistant coach)
Natasha Keehan (Team Manager)
Nicola Gertler (Head coach/player)
Tim Scott (Assistant coach)
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Who to watch out for
The easy answer here is to say ‘watch everyone’, as all of these players are the elite of the elite when it comes to the sport of Quidditch in Australia.
We’ve picked four players out for you to keep an eye on as you watch Australia compete in Ireland.
Widely considered one of Australia’s greatest ever players, the usefulness of a player like Morton comes from his utility play.
While Morton has been named as a beater, he can play in any position required at any stage of the match. 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 European Games.
One of Australia’s greatest ever beaters, Derrick has been around for so long that his reputation precedes him. His unmatched strategic knowledge, strong and yet precise beats, and his ability to encourage those around him make him an asset to any team.
It is not just Derrick’s beater game that will have Australia’s opposition concerned. His quaffle play is nothing to take lightly, and much like Morton, his ability to play as a keeper and a beater will be key for the Dropbears.
Having had World Cup and State Shield success, Derrick will be keen to announce his return to the world stage, and help Australia beat the other teams en route to lifting the trophy.
The fact that Gertler is the head coach of this talented squad should be enough to solidify her credentials and why she is one of the players to watch, but just that alone would be doing her a disservice.
A deadly beater who is proficient across all the different strategies, her presence on the pitch will make any team think twice about its strategies, on both offence and defence.
A key part of the beater contingent, a strong performance from Gertler will go a long way to helping the Dropbears dominate this tournament.
One of the newer players to the sport, this will be Taylor’s debut for the Dropbears, and her skill-set as a chaser will come in handy.
Her height, athleticism, and deceptive strength will allow her to get into the areas on pitch that will enable her team-mates the best opportunities to work towards a goal on offence, whether that is by using Taylor as a decoy, a cutting in option, or a drive down the middle.
On defence, Taylor’s height will force opponents to think twice about passing to the area of the pitch she is in, while the athleticism will allow her to mark her opponents with ease.
What to expect out of Australia
What you can expect out of the Dropbears is a team that will pick the best strategy to take out their opponents as they try to secure victory.
With a wide variety of players making up the squad, all of whom have different skill sets, the side will be capable of executing the different play strategies and styles regardless of who is on the pitch.
With matches in the group stage against Italy, Catalonia, Switzerland, and Wales, 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.
The IQA European Games takes place July 23-25 (AEST), beginning Saturday afternoon and ending on Monday morning. A livestream will be available to watch through the IQA’s YouTube channel.
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