|The Australian Men’s Indoor Volleyball coach, Mark Lebedew, says Sunday’s Volleyball Nations League game against Portugal could be the most crucial for his side in this year’s VNL.
After missing out on a win in Bulgaria last weekend, Australia is now fighting for survival in the Volleyball Nations League.
The VNL is made up of 16 teams, 12 of which are guaranteed a place in next year’s tournament. Australia is one of four challenger teams. The other three are Canada, Bulgaria and Portugal.
The bottom team among the four challenger countries will be relegated from the 2020 VNL.
At the moment Australia is 15th with China currently 16th. But with China a guaranteed team, they are not in danger of relegation, so Australia is at the bottom of the challenger list although they have the same points as Portugal. Portugal has won two games and Australia one, but the Volleyroos have secured more bonus points.
This weekend in Iran, Australia plays the home side, which sits on top of the ladder. They also play the fifth placed France and then Portugal on Sunday.
Mark Lebedew, says his side needs to bounce back from the losses in Bulgaria; “Despite some good performances last weekend we left Bulgaria without the vital win we need in the race to maintain challenger status. The points we are collecting for the five set losses can be vital in the end, but we are still one behind Portugal. While there is still a round to go, and more potential wins on the table, there is a good chance that Sunday’s match could be the decider. Despite a tough trip to Iran, we are settling in well, and will be ready to attack them with all guns blazing on Sunday.”
Next weekend Australia is in Brisbane to play Russia, China and Argentina at the Queensland State Netball Centre.