The 2016 Handball Australia National Championships began in Sydney on October 6 with six teams competing in each the men’s and women’s tournaments.
The men’s event sees teams from New South Wales (NSW), Queensland (QLD), Victoria (VIC), South Australia (SA), Western Australia (WA) and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) contesting the national title. The women’s competition features New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia squads, as well as a representative team from New Zealand (NZ) that previously competed in the Oceania Qualification Series won by Australia.
President of the New South Wales Handball Association, Scott Fearnside, says the host state are pleased so far with both the level of organisation and standard of competition:
“It’s competitive, it’s tough, it’s strong – people are enjoying themselves playing handball!”
After the first two days of competition the frontrunners for each title began to emerge, as South Australia and NSW moved to the top of the men’s table with six and five points respectively, while Victoria lead the women’s competition with six points ahead of NSW and QLD, both on four.
Queensland coach Rosa Boyd, who was on court when her state won the national title in 2012 and 2013, has so far been very satisfied with her team’s strong performance:
“As a team we have great mix of foreign and domestic players, so our first game was really about getting that game experience and finding the right combinations. From there we have progressed well and have been able to capitalise on the strengths of our group of players.
“It has been fantastic to have a mix of junior, senior and foreign players and we look forward to continuing our success into the finals and hopefully the gold-medal match. For one of the first times in recent years the competition has been incredibly close across all of the teams, which is really exciting development wise.”
Several teams therefore entered the third day of competition with crunch matches that will decide whether or not they qualify for the finals on Sunday.
Queensland will begin the day against New Zealand, before taking on South Australia with a chance to secure their place in the trophy match.
“Our second game for the Saturday will be against South Australia, who are really a bit of an unknown. They have a very new team of unfamiliar players, so should be another good challenge. I believe QLD has what it takes to win the game, which will take us through to the Grand Final.
“From there I imagine it will be rematch of our first game [against Victoria], so I will be definitely looking forward to a more successful result. Across the tournament we have learnt a lot, both myself as a coach and as a team, about ourselves and what works for the team. Fingers crossed we can take this into the final and bring the gold back to QLD!”
Handball Australia Nationals will continue until the champions are crowned on Sunday 9 October. Fans can follow the event on Handball Australia’s Facebook page and Twitter, as well as the New South Wales Handball Association Facebook page.
Results of Day One – October 6
ACT vs NSW 27:41
QLD vs VIC 21:25
SA vs WA 31:26
QLD vs VIC 17:22
ACT vs NSW 16:19
Results of Day Two – October 7
ACT vs QLD 26:21
VIC vs SA 21:22
NSW vs WA 28:28
ACT vs SA 29:37
NSW vs QLD 35:22
VIC vs WA 20:24
ACT vs QLD 12:27
NSW vs NZ 26:16
VIC vs SA 35:24
ACT vs SA 22:29
NSW vs QLD 21:27
VIC vs NZ 27:22
Points as at end of October 7: