The Australian men’s team conceded their second consecutive championship loss today, going down to Saudi Arabia 30:13, 16:7 at the break, in Dammam.
It was another great defensive start to a match with both teams holding back one-another’s attacks for long periods. By the tenth minute, the scores were locked at just 2:2.
Saudi Arabia then scored 5 consecutive goals before Australia could respond through a long range shot by Richard Thevenot, by which time the hosts had built a comfortable lead.
Australia’s woes continued today. Right back, Richard Thevenot sustained a knee injury that forced him off the court, midway through the first half, and could rule him out of the tournament. Australia was already missing captain Tomasz Szklarski through injury, as well as Caleb Gahan who remains in isolation following a positive test result for Covid-19.
Three more players were added to the isolation list today, only hours before the match was due to start. Right wing, Sebastien Traverso and goalkeepers Avery Edmunds and Thomas Gerstch also returned positive covid-19 test results, leaving the team significantly reduced.
Despite their misfortune, Australia had a strong start to the second half, going goal-for-goal with the Saudis for another ten-minute period before a three-goal spree gave the home team a comfortable lead which they maintained till the end.
For Australia, Saša Šestić top-scored with 4 goals, and Karl Warraner and Richard Thevenot contributed with three goals each.
Australia will meet India tomorrow for the final match of the first round, and an opportunity to claim their first win at the tournament.
Earlier today, India also conceded their second loss, going down to Iran 42:29.
Photos: Chris Seen, Chris Seen Photogrpahy