VOLLEYBALL NATIONS LEAGUE – ROUND 1 PREVIEW
The Men’s Volleyroos have arrived in Brazil, ahead of their first 2022 Volleyball Nations League (VNL) match on Thursday 9 June.
The 17-strong Australian squad has been training at the Australian Institute of Sport ahead of the VNL, preparing for 12 VNL matches in one month across three continents.
The Aussies will open up their campaign in Brazil against Brazil, before meeting Slovenia, Iran and the Netherlands in their other three Round 1 matches.
Volleyroos debutant Lorenzo Pope said he is looking forward to the challenge of taking on the host nation in their first game.
“Brazil have some top hitters – and a lot of players that I looked up to when I was younger,” Pope said.
“I think we can expect a lot from Brazil, they are right up there with the best teams.
“The atmosphere is going to be amazing in Brazil, playing against them at home, so it’s going to be a good game,” he said.
In their second game, the Volleyroos will match up against Slovenia, with a familiar face at the helm set to spur the team’s motivation, according to Volleyroos veteran Trent O’Dea.
“Slovenia will be an interesting game – our old coach, Mark Lebedew, is now their coach which adds a little bit of extra rivalry,” O’Dea said.
“We’ll definitely be looking for a win, as we lost to them in last year’s VNL,” he said.
In their final two Round 1 matches, the Volleyroos will face powerhouse nation Iran and the Netherlands.
Having been playing for the national team for 10 years, Beau Graham said he believes the current squad will be up to the challenge.
“It’s going to be a good game against Iran, because last time we beat them in five sets,” Graham said.
“They’re going to try to get back at us, but we’ll be ready for it and it’s going to be an interesting match.
“Also, last year we weren’t happy with our performance against the Netherlands, so we’re going to give it another crack.
“I think we’ll be ready for whatever both teams throw at us,” he said.
The FIVB Men’s Volleyball Nations League gets underway on June 9. For the full schedule – click here
The Volleyball Nations League will be live streamed via Volleyball World TV – click here for more
MEN’S VOLLEYROOS SCHEDULE
ROUND 1 – Brasilia, Brazil
9 June – Australia v Brazil
11 June – Australia v Slovenia
12 June – Australia v Iran
13 June – Australia v Netherlands
ROUND 2 – Sofia, Bulgaria
22 June – Australia v Canada
25 June – Australia v Bulgaria
25 June – Australia v Poland
26 June – Australia v Serbia
ROUND 3 – Osaka, Japan
6 July – Australia v Japan
7 July – Australia v Germany
8 July – Australia v Argentina
10 July – Australia v France