With the teams from Brazil, China, Canada, Japan and top ranked USA all taking part, Australian Coach Greg McFadden said the tournament will be an important international test leading into the Rio Olympic Games.
“We don’t get many international games so this will be a significant one for us as part of our Rio preparation.
“The USA and Canada are yet to qualify for Rio and have their Olympic qualification tournament coming up, so you can bet they will be coming out strong,” said McFadden.
Australia along with Brazil, China and Hungary, have all qualified their spots for the Rio Olympic Games. The last international tournament in November last year, the Aussie Stingers took gold over the top ranked USA side at the Rio test event.
But London bronze medallist Ashleigh Southern admitted they will need to dig deep when they face the USA again, coming up against them in last round.
“We would hope we’re ranked in the top two by the time we play the USA, which means there is a chance we’ll play them two days in a row. It will be a tough but if we can get the wins over the USA, it will certainly show the other countries we are ready for this year,” said Southern.
Speaking from Perth where the Stingers just wrapped up their training camp and test matches against China, Southern said there is certainly an energy among the team now that 2016 has arrived.
“The first day of camp there was a buzz, you can tell it’s an Olympic year. We were happy with how the camp and test games went, our attention is on building every day and with each game.
“Personally I have really focused on my fitness a lot over Christmas which has given me more confidence to take risks,” she said.
A notable absence from the team (listed below) will be Stingers Captain Bronwen Knox, who returns to the National Water Polo League this Friday after being sidelined with a collar-bone injury. Knox was recently in camp with the Stingers in Perth, but will remain in Australia to maximise her recovery.
Zoe Arancini, Gemma Beadsworth, Isobel Bishop, Hannah Buckling, Keesja Gofers, Bronte Halligan, Holly Lincoln Smith, Glencora McGhie, Ashleigh Southern, Kelsey Wakefield, Rowena Webster, Lea Yanitsas, Nicola Zagame.
FINA World League game details
- Tuesday, Feb 16: AUS-CHN
- Wednesday, Feb 17: CAN-AUS
- Thursday, Feb 18: AUS-BRA
- Friday, Feb 19: JPN-AUS
- Saturday, Feb 20: AUS-USA
- Sunday, Feb 21: Medal rounds
Visit the FINA website for more details.