Roller Hawks to lift after international success

The Roller Hawks' Luke Pople looks for support against Sydney Uni Wheelings. Picture: CHRIS CHAN

The Roller Hawks' Luke Pople looks for support against Sydney Uni Wheelings. Picture: CHRIS CHAN

WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL 

Roller Hawks president Pablo Jimenez is expecting his international rookies Adam Dean and Luke Pople to rise to another level after being part of Australia's world championship-winning team in South Korea.

Coach Ben Ettridge, along with Roller Hawks players Pople, Dean and Nick Taylor spearheaded the Rollers to a 63-57 win over the USA, avenging an earlier loss in the pool stages, to claim their second consecutive World Championships on Monday.

Ettridge joined the Roller Hawks this year after several successful years in Perth and Jimenez said the success of the Wollongong contingent was strong endorsement for the Roller Hawks system.

"Nick's been a part of the [national] team for a little but for Adam and Luke, who came through our junior system, it was their first national team," Jimenez said.

"It's a real boost for us, our team and for what we do as a program.

"To think we're the only regional team out of the whole national league, having three players and the coach representing us it's not bad.

"Brett's brought a lot of new players to the team and he's been great, especially for the younger players like Luke.

"He's given him more of a senior role, even though he's one of the younger guys in the team, to give him that boost to the next level."

Tristan Knowles, who spent 11 years with the Roller Hawks before returning home to Victoria, finished with a game-high 17 points as the Rollers surrendered a 12-point lead midway through the match to overcome a late deficit in the fourth quarter and seal the title.

The win in the final followed a close victory over Turkey in the semi-final in which the Aussies trailed by as many as 20 points.

"They were probably coasting through but after the loss to the US [in the pool stages] they really picked up their game," Jimenez said.

"They were going really well [in the final] but at the half they were only leading by three.

"The third quarter was just basket for basket and they ended up down at the beginning of the fourth quarter but they chipped away at it and got back in front."

Jimenez said the local quartet will return high on confidence when the NWBL resume in two weeks.

"We're off to Perth in a couple of weeks time and the guys will be raring to go," he said.

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