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Three months on from disappointment at the World Championships, the Aussie Rollers begin their campaign to get to the 2024 Paralympics with a tournament in Italy taking on top teams from both the Italian and French leagues. 



Just Better Care Wollongong Roller Hawk Luke Pople has been named in the 12-man squad, each looking to press their claims for Paris.


“Paris is definitely on my radar for sure,” says Pople.


“It’s always an honour to tour with the Australian team, we have a great young group going away to push their claim and impress the coaches in preparation for Paris next year.”

With several players from the World Championship squad unavailable due to work commitments including Roller Hawks Tristan Knowles and Shawn Russell, Pople joins Tom McHugh, Jaylen Brown, Jontee Brown and Phil Evans as new faces looking to impress.


The Rollers finished 7th at the World Championships in Dubai and with the number of teams for Paris reduced from 12 down to 8, Australia needs to be on their game to ensure they navigate the rigorous qualification process that will see good teams miss out.


Charged with leading that process is five-time Paralympian Brad Ness who takes over as Head Coach from Craig Friday. When appointed to the role, he reached out to Roller Hawks captain Brett Stibners to be his assistant.


While Stibners brings almost two decades of international playing experience, he says he’s still adjusting to being a coach, having guided the NSW Junior team for the last two years.


“It is a big step up. Brad, Darren (Allie) and myself have been having weekly chats about the players, the program and the coaching roles. But they are all still a work in progress,” says Stibners. 


“I think this tour will help settle the coaching roles and hopefully help define how we want the playing group to play going forward.”

While Stibners wasn’t in Dubai he says there’s still lessons to be learnt from his last international tournament, the Tokyo Paralympics where the Rollers finished 5th.


“We have discussed as coaches being more open and honest with the players and I imagine part of my role will be talking to the players when they are on the bench. We didn’t do that (in Tokyo) and that was half the problem.”


“We also want every player to know their role so when they hit the court they know what is expected of them.”


Luke Pople is happy to have his longtime teammate as part of the coaching staff.


“He’s very calm as a coach. He reads and understands the game very well and obviously being a player at the top level for a long time he has a lot of knowledge and I’m keen to tap into that.”



Tom McHugh

Jaylen Brown

Bill Latham 

Jontee Brown 

CJ McCarthy-Grogan 

Shaun Norris 

Tom O’Neil-Thorne 

Luke Pople

Eithen Leard 

Phil Evans

Sam White

Frank Pinder