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Australia’s Men’s Wheelchair Basketball team, the Rollers, have claimed bronze at the 2018 World Championships in Hamburg.



The team, featuring Wollongong Roller Hawks Brett Stibners, Michael Auprince and Luke Pople, went into the tournament ranked number 1 and finished at the top of their pool but fell short against the United States in the semi final and were left to battle for bronze against Iran.


Iran boasted a sizable line up which they exploited in the first period but it was Australia that held a 14-13 advantage at the first break.

The Roller Hawks contingent all played off the bench with veteran Stibners having an early impact with a lay up at the beginning of the second quarter and two sharp passes inside to an open Sam White.


Auprince battled hard against the Iranian big men, his only points coming from a 2 point shot down low, midway through the second quarter.


With the Aussies struggling to find their groove, Iran took a 2 point lead into the main break, ahead 31-29.


Rollers coach Craig Friday stuck with his starters in the third quarter and it wasn’t long before they began to gel. Lead by Bill Latham (who finished with 17 points, 7 rebounds) and Tom O’Neill-Thorne (9 points, 7 assists) the Australians outscored Iran 21-9 in the third quarter to gain the ascendancy.


What the Iranians had in size they lacked in depth as they struggled to keep up with Australia, the Rollers remaining in control to take a 68-57 victory.


Meanwhile, Australia’s women’s wheelchair basketball team, the Gliders, featuring Roller Hawk Hannah Dodd, finished 9th after a difficult round of pool games.


The result is still a positive one for the Gliders after they failed to qualify for the Paralympics two years ago.