After a road trip that has taken them almost two days, the Australian women’s volleyball team is back home in Canberra and ready to take on the best teams in their group in the World Grand Prix finals at the AIS this weekend.
The Helloworld Travel Volleyroos took almost 46 hours to get from Trinidad and Tobago, the venue for their final round of pool matches last weekend, back to the national capital to take on France, Hungary and Venezuela this Saturday and Sunday.
But the Australians will not be at a disadvantage, with all four teams competing this weekend having undertaken similar journeys.
Coach Shannon Winzer said the tight schedule has meant the jet-lagged Volleyroos have returned straight to training at the AIS.
“I'm sure you can't imagine 46 hours of travel and still having to train on arrival because no matter what you are feeling you have a job to do,” Winzer said.
“This group of players and staff are resilient, relentless and determined, and there is no better combination going into finals at home.”
The Helloworld Travel Volleyroos won just the one match in the regular rounds, a 3-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago their first ever victory at this level.
But the Australians showed they are no longer the easybeats of the competition, posting several close results, including a 3-2 loss to the undefeated French team on Monday morning, Australian time.
“A five-set loss to France was disappointing, as was giving up several leads over the weekend, but we are no longer the underdogs in this competition and we are no longer the easy win for our opponents,” Winzer said.
Australia was the only team to take a set off Hungary, the 2016 European champions, in the preliminary round, and they also went the closest to upsetting France.
Hungary, France and Venezuela are all in their first season in the World Grand Prix, while Australia is in its fourth year.
The Volleyroos take on Venezuela, who lost to both Hungary and France in the regular round, at 7:10pm on Saturday night, with the France-Hungary clash due to start at 4:10pm.
The winners of both matches will play off for the gold medal at 4:10pm on Sunday.