Thursday, July 19, 2012

Homebush Bay, New South Wales —

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In a closely fought game Thursday night between the Australian Rollers and the Great Britain men’s national wheelchair basketball team at the Sport Centre at the Sydney Olympic Park, Australia rolled away as 65–51 victors.

The Australians, many with facial hair, met the partially tattooed Great Britain side with a lot of aggression and sometimes borderline violence on the court. Wheelchairs rammed into each other with much greater frequency than in the previous match played between the Australian and German women. Both teams were very vocal on the court and on the bench, loudly telling their teammates what to do or occasionally arguing with the referees. Bench players on both teams demonstrated a lack of creativity in their sideline chanting, with the Rollers chanting “Defense. Rollers. Defense.” and the Great Britain side chanting “Defense. Defense.” The Great Britain side, initially very loud from the bench following a 37–33 half time lead, got quieter as the game progressed. With 6:22 left in the fourth quarter, the game appeared to have gotten away from the referees who answered by calling a technical against Great Britain after one of the Australian players ended up on his back on the court. The call followed a fan screaming from the stands that the game was not supposed to be a contact sport. Following the siren to end the game, both sides shook hands.

Australia plays their last game in pool play in the Rollers & Gliders World Challenge at 7:30pm Sydney time Friday against Japan while Great Britain meets Japan at 12:00pm Sydney time Friday. All three teams are London bound for the Paralympics next month.