Australia is looking for it’s first win of the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) in Bulgaria this weekend and it starts with a very tall order against Russia on Friday night, who are not only the reigning European Champions, but also boast one of the tallest athletes in the world.

The helloworld travel Volleyroos still have plenty of self belief and firepower despite a winless opening weekend, skipper Harry Peacock says the helloworld travel Volleyroos just have to put it all together consistently and they will bag some big scalps.

“Yeah for sure we saw in that last set against France on Sunday that we can compete against the best team in the world. We just have to take that into every game we play. Its nothing that we aren’t capable of doing, we just need to bring that now to every game for the rest of the VNL.” said Peacock.

The key to an Australian victory will be overcoming Russian man mountain Dmitriy Muserskiy who stands at 2.18 metres tall or 7.15 feet in the old language and has been a star of the VNL so far.

“There is not much we can do to stop him as we have no one who can physically match him. The key is to serve well to reduce his potential involvement.” said helloworld travel Volleyroos coach Mark Lebedew.

“In block he takes away a lot of the court, but the key there is not to hesitate when taking your best shot. If you give him even a tiny fraction of a second more time he can close off a big part of the court. Otherwise the bigger the blocker the more chance to hit off him!”

The Aussie coach believes they have the game plan to drag down the world ranked number four team into a dog fight which will give them the best chance of notching their first win ever in a major competition against this volleyball super power.

“Russia is a very strong team physically, unmatched in world volleyball, but they can be two dimensional and if you can draw them into a fight, with long rallies and fast transitions, you can bring them down a level.” said Lebedew.

The Australians have no shortage of fire power themselves with Lincoln Williams the stand out so far top scoring for the tournament with 37 points. Williams was the talk of the tournament when he blew everyone away on Saturday with a blistering 127.4km/h serve against Iran.

The coach will want to see more of those serves this weekend but more importantly he’d like to see a cohesive team effort that will yield better results.

“We had some excellent individual performances last weekend. Lincoln was very good against Iran and France. Tom Hodges came on against Japan and did a good job. Nemo Mote was fantastic in attack in that match as well. Luke Perry had a great game against France. But we need to work better together to get better results.” said Lebedew

Australian fans can hope for wins this weekend but while that can’t be guaranteed the coach has ensured fans can expect their team to never give up.

“Fans can expect to see a team that fights for every ball and works together without fear.” said Lebedew

While the Aussies have only one won set out of their three matches so far against Japan, Iran and France the closeness of all of those sets has their coach believing they are not far off the pace.

All matches can be seen in Australia on Fox Sports this weekend.

Fox Sports Broadcast times

June 2 Australia v Russia 0900 (FS 503)

June 3 Australia v Bulgaria 0900 (FS 503)

June 4 Australia v Serbia 1600 (FS 503)


  • Australia have lost all their 10 world level major competition encounters with Russia (including the Soviet Union and CIS), making them the opponents against which they played most matches without a single win in those tournaments.
  • World level major competitions are: the VNL, Olympic Games, World Championships, World Cup, World League and Grand Champions Cup.
  • Russia have won four of their last five encounters with Australia at world level major competitions in straight sets, with the 3-1 win in the 2010 World Championship as the only exception.
  • Australia have won the first set in a world level match against Russia only once. This 3-2 defeat in the 1999 World League was also their only world level match in which Russia needed five sets against them.
  • Australia

  • Australia have won one set this VNL, as they lost 3-1 against Japan, and 3-0 versus Iran and France.
  • Australia can lose four successive world level major competition matches for the time since the 2016 World League, when they lost all their nine fixtures.
  • Despite having played in only two sets against France, Lincoln Williams still ended as Australia's top scorer on 10 points.
  • Williams also is Australia's overall top scorer on 37 points this VNL. Nahemiah Mote is next on 28 points.
  • Russia

  • All Russia's matches finished in straight sets this VNL: 3-0 wins against Canada and Korea and 3-0 loss to Poland.
  • The last time Russia played more than three sets in a major competition came in the 2017 World League, when they lost 3-2 against Brazil.
  • Russia can win back-to-back straight setters for the first time since the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, when they beat Iran (preliminary round) and Canada (quarterfinals).
  • Coming into matchround 4, Dmitriy Muserskiy has the best success percentage on his spikes among all players: 61%.
  • Muserskiy also has the highest block average per set (0.89) and the most aces on average per set (0.67) among all players coming into matchround 4.

    Australian fans can see the VNL in Melbourne June 22-24 at Hisense Arena with Poland, Brazil and Argentina all on show against Australia tickets on sale now through Ticketek click here to book now.