2019 Australian Sides Championships: Preview
The coveted Australian Sides Championships will see 192 of Australia’s best bowlers, proudly representing their states and territories, descend on the greens of the Ettalong Memorial Bowling Club from April 11-14.
The Alley Shield and Marj Morris Trophies are always hotly contested affairs and this year will be no different with all eight States and Territories fielding strong sides in search of national glory.
Defending Champions, the New South Wales women and Victorian men reigned supreme in the Top End in 2018, however, the challenges will come thick and fast as these two sides try to retain the trophies and make it back-back titles for the powerhouse states.
The New South Wales women have been dominating the competition for the best part of a decade having won six Marj Morris trophies in the past seven years, and the Blues have fielded another formidable side in 2019.
There have been three changes to their 2018 winning side; in comes Taren Point’s Kate Walker, an Australian Triples Champion who will play second for Karen Murphy, St Johns Park youngster Brianna Smith will play in her biggest event to date, leading for Natasha Scott whilst Natalie Noronha will kick things off for Kelsey Cottrell’s rink as she did in the 2017 Australian Sides Championships in South Australia.
The Victorian men have a swag of talent coming through their ranks so picking their top 12 players would have been no mean feat for selectors.
They have a wealth of experience leading their charge; Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Matt Flapper, current Australian representative Barrie Lester and former Perth Suns BPL star Matt Ellul will skip for the Big V.
The Tasmanian women have named their youngest ever side while the Tasmanian men have also gone for youth; selecting the ‘Josh trio’ of, Josh Appleyard, Josh Mabb and Josh Walker-Davis to lead up for the crew from the Apple Isle.
South Australia won the Alley Shield in 2017 and have another star-studded line-up with Wayne Ruediger, Scott Thulborn, Nathan Pedersen and Josh Studham among their ranks; while Australian Jackaroos Team Manager Cath Greenslade will come up against her understudies when she steps out for her first Australian Sides Championship.
Across the borders to Western Australia and the Northern Territory, there are stars and seasoned Sides performers aplenty who will be looking to help lift both the teams up the table.
Past and present Bowls Premier League stars in Clive Adams, Shane Knott, John Slavich, Kristina Krstic and Helen Morss light up the WA squad, all beacons for bowls in their state over a number of years.
Meanwhile, NT will see the usual suspects in the likes of Mark Malogorski, Trystan Smallacombe and Colleen Orr lead their squad, with the experienced trio sure to galvanise the troops for four days of action.
Towards the eastern seaboard and the nation’s capital, the ACT is also littered with seasoned professionals all capable of mixing it with the best. Robert Craven and Mac McLean headline the skips for the men’s squad, while consistent performers Margaret Bacchetto and Sharon Harmer will spearhead the women’s outfit.
A few players to keep an eye out this series; Lisa Phillips is back for the Victorians for her first Australian Sides in three years, BCiB Australian Jackaroo Ray Pearse has been elevated to skip for NSW, while Bec Van Asch and Lee Schraner will both skip for Tasmania.
Bowls Australia will be live-streaming the event daily, with the second-half (approximately ends 11-21) of one match per round to be broadcast on our Facebook page.
The 2019 Australian Sides Championships is proudly sponsored by the Central Coast Council.