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Tough fight as Australia defeats Canada
Australia has defeated its major threat Canada 57-55 in a gripping clash at the International Wheelchair Rugby Four Nations today at Sydney Olympic Park.
Both the Australians and Canadians entered the contest eager to confirm top spot on the tournament standings, after they emerged undefeated with two comfortable victories against New Zealand and Great Britain on day one yesterday.
After the fierce opening exchanges, Australia had edged out the Canadians for a tight one point lead at quarter time, but couldn’t shake the challenge from the world’s third best ranked team. The visitors kept fighting and enjoyed a two point lead during the second quarter until the Australians narrowed the score to 27-26, trailing Canada by one at half time.
With the lead continuing to change hands, the second half was even more physical than the first before the Australians pushed to a two point advantage that proved the turning point of the game.
In the dying stages, the Steelers displayed great composure as they continued to find ways to push past the heavy Canadian defence to secure the two point victory.
The Beijing Paralympic semi-final rematch continued Australia’s dominance over their Canadian rivals, but Australian Wheelchair Rugby Head Coach Brad Dubberley says there is still a lot of work to do before the finals begin on Sunday.
“That was the closest game we’ve played so far in this tournament and it showed how evenly matched both teams are,” said Dubberley.
“I’m pleased with how the boys played today. Our defence was impenetrable when it counted and the guys worked well as a team, setting up some great plays to get around the strong Canadian defence.”
The tournament’s leading point scorer Ryley Batt again dominated the scoreboard, racking up 42 goals for Australia while newcomer Andrew Harrison (seven goals) and Cameron Carr (four goals) showed off their skills, carrying some tight goals across the line.
The Australians will attempt to continue its undefeated streak this afternoon, when they meet Great Britain at 4pm at the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre. In today’s other clash, New Zealand face Canada at 6pm.
Staged by the Australian Paralympic Committee, the tournament at Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre runs until Sunday.
FRI 30 APRIL
10:00 Australia v New Zealand
12:00 Canada v Great Britain
16:00 Canada v Australia
18:00 Great Britain v New Zealand
Results so far:
WED 28 APRIL
10:30 Australia def Great Britain 47-38
12:30 Canada def New Zealand 51-49
16:00 Australia def New Zealand 52-40
18:00 Canada def Great Britain 48-39
THURS 29 APRIL
10:00 Australia def Canada 57-55
12:00 New Zealand def Great Britain 49-44