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Goalballers struggle for a win
Australia has suffered three major losses to some of the world’s leading goalball nations in a disappointing second day at the Goalball World Championships in Sheffield.
In game one, the Australian men looked promising, holding their own in the first half against number three ranked Sweden. But a lapse of concentration from the Aussies opened the way for Sweden to score three goals within two minutes.
Centre Michael Sheppard hit back with two late goals to have the Australians trailing 2-3 at half time but the Swedish team proved too strong, taking the upper hand early on in the second half to secure a 5-4 victory.
Australian Men’s Head Coach Rob Apps said Sheppard and fellow centre Paul Kennedy played superbly, along with winger Ben MacFie.
“Ben MacFie found his range with his bounce shots to score a double which found the Aussies one goal short of the Swedish team at the final siren,” Apps said.
MacFie opened the scoring with his signature bounce ball in the day’s second game against Brazil, but sadly that was to remain Australia’s only goal.
The loud and confident Brazilians were steadfast in their defence and scored two goals late in the first half, before securing their 4-1 win with a further two goals in the second half.
Meanwhile the Australian women faced their toughest competition yet, taking on defending World Champions Canada. The undefeated Canadians outclassed the Australians, racking up a 5-0 lead in the first half.
A powerful display of aggressive attack and defence ensured Canada held on to their lead but Aussie newcomer Nicole Esdaile snuck two goals past the Canadian wall of defence to take the final score to 5-2.
Australian Women’s Head Coach Georgina Kenaghan was disappointed the team’s hard-fought performance did not pay off with a win.
“I am disappointed for the players as I want them to experience success against the international competition, however I am pleased with their ability to focus on their attacking plays,” Kenaghan said.
“Tomorrow presents another opportunity for the girls and we will be taking every game as a chance to improve as a team.”
Day three of the World Championships will see the Australian men take on Hungary while the women will meet Beijing gold medallists, the US.
By Rebekka Wake