Illawarra Mercury

Roll on, London Games

Author: SAM HALL
Date: 16/06/2012
Words: 295
Source: ILL
          Publication: Illawarra Mercury
Section: Sport
Page: 73
AUSTRALIAN Paralympian Brett Stibners will have the added motivation of a London Games berth when the Roller Hawks go about defending their national title in Shellharbour this weekend.

The Hawks played out the first of the finals play-offs last night against Perth, with the winner (unknown at time of publication) transferring through to the grand final tomorrow.

The national play-offs will continue today with Dandenong playing Sydney, the winner to go up against last night's loser for the second spot in the decider tomorrow.

Stibners and Wollongong team-mates Shawn Russell, Luke Pople, Grant Mizens and Nick Taylor are among 14 hopefuls vying for an Australian Paralympics team spot.

Their performances this weekend will be a crucial guide to selectors aiming to narrow the squad to 12 later this month.

"It could be make or break for a couple of people," Stibners said.

"There's still people fighting for spots so everyone's going to be doing their best. Perth have a couple in the mix as well so I'm sure it will be important for them to do well, too."

The Roller Hawks will take confidence from the fact they beat Perth in the grand final last year, ending a five-year winning streak for the West Australian outfit.

Minor premiers Wollongong also came away with an impressive 79-53 win over Perth in the lead-up to the final.

"They won five in a row before we toppled them last year so it's about getting the monkey off your back and proving you can win," Stibners said.

"You gain a lot of confidence from that.

"Both clubs have lost quite a few players since the play-offs last year but we're still two of the strongest clubs in the league."

The national grand final will tip off at Shellharbour at 1pm tomorrow.

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