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Date: 7/5/2016

Coach: Patrik Weiss


Key Players: James Brennan (Goalkeeper), Scott Nicholson (Pivot)


Road to Qualification: Winners of two-legged qualification tournament versus New Zealand


History in Tournament: 2004: DNQ, 2006: DNQ, 2008: DNQ, 2010: 12th, 2012: 12th, 2014: 11th




For a country that has done so much for beach culture around the world – not least inventing the famous ‘Speedo’ swimming trunks in 1927 which some say were responsible for over 70% of all medals won in the pool at the 1968, 1972 and 1976 Olympic Games – the Australian men are still finding their feet at an international level for beach handball.


In the 27 games they have played to date in three IHF Beach Handball World Championships, they have won just once – against Oman in the 11/12th placement match at Brazil 2014.


In a match as tight as it could be, the Aussies took the game 2-1 after winning a shoot-out 5-4 and that day – Saturday 26 July – will go down in Australian handball history as the first win for an Australian men’s side at a beach handball world championship.


Oliver Machell, Scott Nicholson, Daniel Epstein, Andrew Kelso, Matthew Campbell and James Brennan who all played in that Oman game are all named in the Australian squad for Budapest 2016 which Australia qualified for thanks to their two-legged play-off win against New Zealand at Coolangatta Beach on the Gold Coast back in late February.


Having won the first period of the first match by only one goal (12-11), the Australians faced a more motivated New Zealand team in the second period and the Kiwis dominated after the break, winning 24-12. In the subsequent penalty shoot-out they won 7-4 to finish 2-1 victors and take a 1-0 series lead – and were on the verge of gaining their first world championship qualification.


Match two was a repeat of the excitement of the previous game but Australia prevailed with narrow wins in both periods at 2-0 (18-17 and 11-8) to give them three out of the four periods overall and qualify for Budapest 2016 by the tightest of margins.


Even though the men have won just that solitary game at the world championships, along with the women, the Australian beach handball teams represent more than just two teams – they represent the spearhead of the growth of the game across the Oceania continent, inspiring not only players in Australia (the New Zealand games were held alongside the 2016 Australian Beach Handball Championships), but throughout the region including New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Guam, Samoa and many more.


In Budapest, goalkeeper James Brennan is likely to be a key player for the Australians. With experience at the 2013 World Games and Brazil 2014, the East Melbourne Spartans player is also a talented futsal player, where he represents Australia as well. Pivot Scott Nicholson who plays for Sydney side Maroubra, has a background as an elite water polo player in the national league for Sydney and has been bringing those unique skills into beach handball for his country since 2013.


“We have a good mix of experienced campaigners and young newcomers,” said Coach Weiss. “Everyone can play a number of positions which gives us great flexibility going into the tournament.


“We have seven players with previous world championship and World Games experience with three rookies,” he continued. “The new guys provide us with much needed height in defence and something special on the right wing attack.


“This is the first campaign since I started in 2013 that we have had every single player at every single training camp, which means we'll be very well prepared. We had no injuries and have no major injury concerns going into the tournament


“At Brazil 2014 we had a lot of competitive games and encouraging results, but just couldn't get more wins on the board, so our goal in Budapest is to build on this success, upset teams and turn these encouraging performances into wins.”


Group at Budapest 2016

Group B: Croatia, Spain, Hungary, Oman, Uruguay, Australia


Group Games at Budapest 2016

All times local


Tuesday 12 July:          ESP-AUS (12:30)

Tuesday 12 July:          AUS-HUN (21:45)

Wednesday 13 July:     CRO-AUS (10:50)

Wednesday 13 July:     AUS-OMA (17:20)

Thursday 14 July:         URU-AUS (12:30)


Fixture link here


Official Website/Social Media

You can follow the IHF World Beach Handball Championships from Hungary via the official IHF channels at IHF.info, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+.


Watch live streams for free and keep up-to-date with all the results on the official tournament website


For the Australian team:

Official Federation website