After four weeks on the road the Australian Men’s Volleyroos return to Australia this weekend to play three rounds of the inaugural Volleyball Nations League in Melbourne.
WA’s Luke Perry, Max Staples, Luke Smith and Samuel Walker are amongst the resurging Men’s team who will be looking to continue their four game winning streak.
Returning to Australia has been a long time coming for Australian Libero Luke Perry following a successful season in Germany. Excited to play in front of a home crowd after a year abroad, Perry is eager to showcase Australia’s developing talent.
“I’m stoked to be back home after eight months away. It’s going to be a great few nights, the boys are focused on continuing our recent run of wins and we’re ready to back ourselves against these big teams.”
The Volleyroos will start their three game home series against world number one Brazil on Friday, followed by Pan American champions Argentina on Saturday and reigning world champions Poland on Sunday.
At just 22 years of age Perry has recently surpassed more than 150 games in the green and gold. However the former Aquinas student has not been distracted by the milestones and instead maintains his high expectations for himself and the team a head of Friday night’s first game.
“As a team we are pretty young, but we’re experienced. I think we have started to become more comfortable in our game play and we’re focused on delivering some consistent performances.”
Perry admits the Australian men had a less than ideal start to the Volleyball Nations League and were forced to learn from their mistakes quickly. Since then the men have turned things around and have continued to improve over the last few games beating Germany, Korea, China and 2016 Rio Olympic silver medallists, Italy.
Confident the Aussies will be up for the challenge, Perry says Brazil will have to work hard to take the win.
“As a team we are starting to grow in confidence, which is flowing on to how we play. Brazil have had a shaky few games and will be looking for a win on Friday, but we’re ready to take them on. There is a lot of belief in the team right now which is really exciting.”
Volleyball Australia Chairman Craig Carracher believes the inaugural event’s inclusion of Australia is a reflection of Volleyball’s growing presence in the Australian sporting landscape. Stressing the importance of every Australians’ support this weekend, given the Australian Sports Commission is expected to announce its high performance funding decisions next month, Carracher is calling on volleyball fans to descend on Hisense Arena.
“This is the sport’s time to protest our exclusion, protest our poor facilities nationally, protest our lack of funding and to send a message that gender equal non contact team sports are deserving of support. Sports that can bring the world’s best to Australia to compete are deserving of recognition. That athletes that truly compete on a world stage, not just a regional or local stage, should be supported and the ambitions of our young athletes, in the most gender equal sport in the nation, should be encouraged.”
Fox Sports will have all of the Volleyball action live on their channels with coverage starting at 6:55pm on Friday night, 3:25pm on Saturday and 12:55pm on Sunday.
The Volleyball Nations League is a new competition launched by the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) in 2018 for the top men’s and women’s national teams of the world. The competition is a combination of the top 12 teams in the world, with an additional four challenge teams added to form a pool of 16. The Australian Volleyroos were selected as one of the four challenger teams after its bronze place in the World League Finals in 2017.