A new Australian beach volleyball season kicks off this weekend at Sydney’s Manly Beach, with the unveiling of several exciting new pairings at the 2016 NSW Open.
2016 Olympian, Nicole Laird, and 2012 Olympian, Becchara Palmer, have joined together for the first tournament of the summer and are likely to start favourites in the women’s event.
Manly is Laird’s home beach, although both she and Palmer are now based in Adelaide.
Defending men’s champions, Damien Schumann and Josh Court, are not playing together this weekend, allowing Schumann the opportunity to team up with younger brother, Justin.
Also hitting the sand this weekend will be the experienced pairing of Aaron Crook and Bart Bolsterlee, while national squad members Cole Durant and Zachery Schubert are likely to start pre-event favourites.
Former NSW State title holder, Frank Riginelli, is certain to attract plenty of Manly support when he teams up with Artem Ipatyev.
Manly’s Alice Rohkamper will be back to defend her title on home sand, and this year will team up with former international, Joanna Healy.
Healy played a handful of World Tour events back in 2007, including one event with Alice’s sister, Johannah.
Also back this weekend will be last season’s runners-up, Michaela Vorlova and Lucia Michalovicova, although this time they will both be playing with new partners.
Michalovicova will play alongside local Manly favourite, Katie Bartoli, while Vorlova will partner Victoria’s Christie Jenkins, who enjoyed several podium finishes over the 2015/16 summer.
Another to watch this weekend will be former Manly player, Sarah Battaglene, who will partner Youth Olympic Games representative, Britt Kendall.
The NSW Open will be held this weekend, December 17/18, at Manly Beach.