Category: Latest News

Four team competition begins boosting Tokyo 2020 Dream

CANBERRA will play host to the first round of the inaugural Handball League Australia as the local team handball turns its focus to Tokyo 2020 just weeks after the Rio Olympics closed.

The league wants to showcase the high octane sport to the nation, with a mix of Australian National Team stars and overseas journeyman spreading across the Sydney University Handball Club, St Kilda Handball Club, Brisbane Wolves and University of Technology Sydney/University of Canberra sides.

One of Australia’s brightest prospects will return to Australian shores to play part in the first-ever Handball League Australia, with Brisbane’s Caleb Gahan returning from Spain to compete.

“It has been amazing for my personal development to play in Spain – the same country who won the 2013 World Cup,” Gahan said on his arrival after travelling overseas to enhance his skill.

“But with the Handball League Australia kicking off in 2016, it was the right time for me to come back and be part of the rapid development handball is making at home.

“An elite League is a key piece in the puzzle to lure Australian players back from overseas, so we can build a strong national team in our quest to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

“This is just the start of our dream, a dream we are realistically chasing with the Handball League Australia.”

The opening match of the tournament will see the UTS/UC Hawks take on Sydney Uni HC at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra on September 2.

Handball, or European handball to most Australians, has been an integral part of the school system for many years.

A small but dedicated community has seen Australia represented at multiple world cups, Olympic qualifiers and even the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

Each year, National competitions and junior competitions are held across the country, with more than 300 dedicated players and officials paying their own way for competitions.

Brisbane Wolves paving the way to a bright future

Newly formed in 2016, the Brisbane Wolves are a young team packed with former Australian under 21 representatives looking to move into the senior Australian team. While lacking in age and experience the wolves more than make up for it by possessing the youthful fearlessness required to push the more experienced sides.

The Australian ‘powerhouse of youth development’ will be looking to build on what was to many a surprisingly strong showing at the Club Championships in Geelong, and with the extra three months of training there is no reason to believe they can’t cause an upset.

Coach: Todd Morschel

Key Players: Scott Marshall, Hamish Langenberg, Alex Lynch, Chris Petrie

Saint Kilda aiming for top of HLA ladder

After a disappointing Club Championships result on home soil, finishing 3rd behind Sydney Uni and West Adelaide, St Kilda will be looking to make a statement early in the tournament.

Narrowly missing out on a Super Globe birth in both 2014 and 2015, losing the final of both years qualifying tournaments to Sydney Uni by a goal, St Kilda are a team who certainly can’t be written off. Led by experienced goalkeeper Thomas Gertsch, the Victorians have once again recruited strongly from overseas and will look to use these players to spearhead their campaign.

Australian wing player Stephane Tabardin is one to watch, regularly providing plenty of excitement for the fans and footage for the highlight reel.

After consistently finishing in second place, it will be interesting to see if St Kilda can copy Denmarks efforts at the Rio Games and have their breakthrough win.

Coach: Thomas Gerstch / Christophe Ducourant

Key Players: Thomas Gertsch, Stephane Tabardin, Axel Fagerhall

UTS-UC Hawks clawing their way to elite handball

The combined UTS/UC team look to be the unknown entity of the competition and could be a real danger to St Kilda and Sydney Uni. The quality of their starting 7 is unquestioned with national representatives James Ridley, Mitch Hedges and right back Michael Thomas likely to form a powerful combination with Argentinian centre back Augustin Bruno and Denmark’s Christian Lhyne.

Canberra based Harjodh Singh will provide plenty of x factor and speed whenever he is on the court, however it is the bench depth of the hawks which is yet to be proven and is likely to decide how far they are able to go in the competition.

Coach: Richard Ridley   Assistant Coach: Taip Ramadani

Key Players: Augustin Bruno, Mitch Hedges, James Ridley, Harjodh Singh, Michael Thomas

Handball League Australia to kick-off in September

Canberra will play host to the first round of the inaugural Australian Handball League, running from the 2-4 of September at the Australian Institute of Sport.

Four teams from around Australia will compete for the national title including traditional powerhouses Sydney University and St Kilda Handball Club, as well as new clubs UTS/UC, a combination of the University of Canberra club and the Sydney based UTS, as well as the exciting Brisbane Wolves.

The league will follow a tournament format, with each team playing two games per weekend in the preliminary rounds, with the finals being played from the 26-27 of November in Sydney.

When asked about what it meant to host the first round in Canberra, UTS/UC assistant coach Taip Ramadani said he believed it was a great opportunity for the sport to showcase itself. “The first match is being held during the national schools championships which is also being contested for the first time this year, which gives us a great opportunity for school students to see handball being played at a high standard for the first time.

The opening match of the tournament will see the UTS/UC Hawks take on Sydney University on Friday the 2nd of September at 5:00 pm at the Australian Institute of Sport.