Bowls Australia’s national selection panel have named a 14-player team to compete at the sport’s next two international events in New Zealand, the annual Trans Tasman and 6-Nation Invitational.
Seven men and as many women will compete in the international test against the New Zealand Blackjacks from March 1 to 3, in preparation for a herculean hit-out with the Kiwis, Scotland, Wales, South Africa and Malaysia from March 6 to 11, with two players from each gender able to be rotated in throughout the events.
The contingent features all 10 combatants who competed across the ditch at the Asia Pacific Championships late last year, as well as the addition of some old hands to bolster the ranks.
The Jackaroos procured four gold, two silver and two bronze medals from the eight disciplines contested at the 19-nation Asia Pacific Championships that wrapped up on December 6, so it’s somewhat unsurprising that the selectors have placed their faith in the same team at the upcoming Trans Tasman test series and 6-Nation Invitational.
Mark Casey, Ray Pearse, Nathan Rice, Wayne Ruediger and Aron Sherriff have resolidified their position on the international arena in the men’s outfit, while Kelsey Cottrell, Karen Murphy, Anne Johns, Carla Krizanic (nee Odgers) and Natasha Scott remain entrenched in the women’s team.
Among the new inclusions is Victoria’s Barrie Lester, who will return to representative duties after last donning the green and gold uniform in 2013, which at that time was the catalyst for breaking a five-year hiatus, in addition to Jackaroos Vice-Captain Brett Wilkie, who has been afforded another opportunity to add to his 166 international appearances.
Similarly, Australian Captain Lynsey Clarke is set to return to international duties following the birth of her first child, and will be joined by Tasmania’s only world bowls champion, Rebecca Van Asch, who earns her first cap since late 2013.
In addition to the Australian Jackaroos team chosen to represent the nation at the Trans Tasman, a restricted age Development team comprising of two under-18s, two under-25s and an unconstrained age player which will be named to compete in the coming weeks, following a Jr. Jackaroos team camp at Broadbeach on the Gold Coast next week.
Since the inaugural Trans Tasman in 1979, Australia has held sway against New Zealand in the senior event, claiming the men’s title on 22 of the 37 occasions, while its women have captured 12 of 19, including a draw.
This year’s Trans Tasman will be staged at Burnside Bowling Club from March 1 to 3, while the 6-Nation Invitational will be held at across Bowls Papanui, Burnside and Fendalton Bowling Clubs from March 6 to 11.
Bowls Australia would like to acknowledge the assistance and funding provided by the Australian Commonwealth Games Association to Bowls Australia for athletes in the “Gold Coast GOLD” 2018 program.
The Gold Coast GOLD program was devised by the ACGA to maximise podium performances at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and assist athletes who are expected to be nominated for selection to the 2018 Australian Team.
Lynsey Clarke (32, Club Helensvale, QLD)
Kelsey Cottrell (25, St Johns Park, NSW)
Anne Johns (35, St Johns Park, NSW)
Carla Krizanic (nee Odgers) (25, Sunbury, VIC)
Karen Murphy (41, Cabramatta, NSW)
Natasha Scott (25, Raymond Terrace, NSW)
Rebecca Van Asch (27, Invermay, TAS)
Mark Casey (33, Club Helensvale, QLD)
Barrie Lester (33, Mulgrave Country Club, VIC)
Ray Pearse (31, Cabramatta, NSW)
Nathan Rice (36, Club Helensvale, QLD)
Wayne Ruediger (39, Grange, SA)
Aron Sherriff (30, Ettalong Memorial, NSW)
Brett Wilkie (41, Club Helensvale, QLD)
Caption: Brett Wilkie, Rebecca Van Asch, Lynsey Clarke and Barrie Lester are new inclusions for the Australian Jackaroos next two international events.