Members of the Australian Junior Women’s squad spent Christmas Day in Singapore, preparing for Singapore Handball’s annual open aged tournament, SHOT! 2015. The event ran between December 26 and 28, with the Junior Women playing 2 games per day in the competition rounds against open aged teams.
The tournament provided a development opportunity for the team with no other international event slated for the squad for 2015. (The girls did appreciate playing one match against New Zealand mid-year at the annual Australian Junior Championships but were looking to a more substantial event to focus training on for the year).
Coach Adrian van Bussel summed up the girls’ participation: We were highly competitive in a [open aged] competition that consisted of teams from Japan, Uzbekistan, Singapore, and club teams from Hong Kong and Singapore. This meant that the style of play was quick and technical. We took a little time to adapt to this fast style of play. We were scored against by fast breaks, so we need to work on defending fast breaks.
Our defense was excellent against opposition attack when the fast break broke down. Due to the physical nature of our defense, the referees weren't used to our style of play. Although we didn’t win a game the margin between us and the opposition was between two and seven goals for each game we played. Most games we were equal or within one goal of the opposition at half time.
Each game we played better defense and attack against the faster teams. We improved in all aspects of the game throughout the tournament. This is an excellent tournament for our junior teams.
The match results were:
- Japan Saitama High School 18:11 (7:7 half-time)
- Taiwan Breakers (NHL Champions) 16:9 (11:7)
- Hong Kong Institution of Education 15:13 (7:6)
- Singapore 1 (National team) 16:9 (9:7)
The squad will resume training soon with their eyes on the IHF Trophy (U20) event for Oceania, which is still to be planned for later in the year. The Junior Men’s Team is also aiming for this event and has their first national squad camp for 2016 organised for February 19-21 in Queensland.