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First came the Italian job, now get set for the French connection. Just weeks after Hannah Dodd arrived in Treviso, Luke Pople is set to link with French Division 1 club CS Meaux.

 Pople Paris 1

Pople answering the call from long time friend and fellow Aussie Jontee Brown.


“CX Meaux had a roster spot open up and Jontee, who is one of their players there, reached out and asked if I may be keen to fill that spot,” says Pople.


“At first it was going to be a no, I had work commitments with the (Illawarra) Hawks and I thought it may be difficult to juggle, but after speaking with them they were really supportive and have allowed me to take up this opportunity in France as well as continue my work with the Hawks.”


“I immediately responded back to Jontee and said I was available.”


Jontee Brown is elated to have Pople on board.


“The club is excited to have Luke come in and be our glue guy, to bring everything together for us in his ability to do all we need,” says Brown.


“The biggest thing for us is his ability to be so versatile as well as his experience and his record of winning big games,” adds Brown. “To get Luke is the best possible outcome for us and the club, we couldn’t have asked for a better pickup.” 


But saying yes was the easy part. League rules state players must play at least one game in the first half of the season to be eligible to play the back end of the season and finals. This is to prevent clubs from just flying imports in for the second half of the season to try to win the championship. 


It means Pople has to fly to Paris just a week after agreeing to join the club so he can play at least one game before Christmas to be eligible for the remainder of the season from January to May next year.


"They're looking for me to be a scorer and to control the game, hopefully I can use my experience to help the team get some Ws."


The rush to get on plane more pronounced with Pople having to fly out at 5:00am last Friday morning just hours after winning the People’s Choice Award at re-invigorated Illawarra Sports Awards.


Pople beat out the likes of Alex Volkanovski and Emma McKeon to win the fan voted category, following an incredible 2022 that included another NWBL title with the Roller Hawks, NWBL All-Star 5 honours and captaining Australia to 3X3 gold at the Commonwealth Games.


“When you look at the names on the list I thought I’ve got no chance so it’s crazy to win.”


“My success isn’t just my success, it’s from my team and my family, everything goes to them.”


It’s not Pople’s first foray into European wheelchair basketball having played two years at Porto Torres in Italy and one year in Koln, Germany.

"Italy and Germany were great experiences. To live and play in those countries, it was definitely something I’d never thought I’d do, so to be able to go back is pretty awesome."