Men set to ignite Blacktown
9 February 2012
The 2012 John Reid Shield, Australian Open Men’s Championship will commence on Monday, 13 February at Blacktown International Sportspark with five states competing for the title.
Reigning champions ACT will again look to continue their supremacy on this Championship. Led by new Head Coach - Darrin Hebditch he will be aiming to continue the teams’ dominance as they try to bring home the John Reid Shield for the 8th time since 2001.
Backed by a host of Aussie Steelers representatives, the team has been strengthened by the inclusions of Zenon Winters and the return of Jeff Goolagong. Add to this the pitching staff of Andrew Kirkpatrick and Adam Folkard, the ACT team will go into the Championship once again favourites.
Newly named Western Blaze (WA), are confident they have what it takes to go all the way with a team mixed with youth and seasoned campaigners. WA won this championship in 2010 and Head Coach – Gary Butler knows that his team will need to be at their very best to once again etch their name on the Shield.
NSW have strengthened their team with improved results over recent years. The NSW team heads to the John Reid Shield with a remarkable three sets of brothers making up the final team. NSW will be looking for another improved year in front of a home crowed.
Missing out on finals in 2011, Vic will be aiming to regain the form that saw them win back-to-back titles in 2004 & 2005. The return of Kris Kiefel to the team combined with the Aussie Steelers battery combination of David Edwards and Drew Faulkner the Vic’s will be hoping for a return to finals.
The Qld Patriots will be led by their longest serving member and team captain Jason Nathan as they look to go one better than 2011, losing in the Grand Final game. The Patriots outfit includes a wealth of experience, with all members participating in multiple Australian Men’s Championships.
The Aussie Colts are participating in the John Reid Shield in preparation for the ISF IX Junior Men's World Championship in Argentina later this year. Head Coach -John Neilsen sees this event as a great opportunity to gauge which of his athletes can rise to the challenge when faced with high level competition. The Aussie Colts will be looking to Jesse Taws (ACT), Joshua Wagner (Qld), Patrick Schipp (NSW), Liam O’Leary (NSW) and Jason Cronan (NSW) to continue their form that saw them win individual awards on their recent tour to Argentina.
Photo care of - Wies Fajzullin