Fistball Federation of Australia announces National Team for 2015 Men’s 15th Fistball World Championships in Argentina

The Fistball Federation of Australia (FiFA) is pleased to announce the official selection of the ten-man Australian national fistball team that will be competing this November at the 2015 Men’s 15th Fistball World Championships in Córdoba, Argentina. This will be Australia’s first-ever appearance at the Fistball World Championships.

The final selections are as follows: Jason ‘Butchers’ Beelders (The Fist & The Furious), Carl ‘Carlossus’ Creasey (Bay City Fisters), Jason ‘Richo’ Denholm (The Fist & The Furious), Malcolm ‘Mr Fister’ Donnellon (Westside Wombats), Bryce ‘His Fistiness The Pope’ Griesheimer (Fist Club), Brent ‘Jellyfist’ Lehmann (Bay City Fisters), Eric ‘The Dog’ Maddocks (Fistroy Lions), Chris ‘Super Mario’ Milne (Fistroy Lions), Lee ‘The Power Station’ Morony (The Fist & The Furious) and Richard ‘Buckfist’ Williams (Das Fist).

Boasting a strong group of long-standing and committed Australian fistballers, all six Melbourne & Geelong-based F-League teams have been represented in the final team, including five F-League team captains (Beelders, Donnellon, Lehmann, Griesheimer and Milne). Four attackers and six defenders make up the squad, giving significant depth at all five playing positions on the field. Four of the ten players chosen (Maddocks, Milne, Morony, Williams) already have international fistball experience, having competed in April 2014 at the inaugural Asian Fistball Championships in Lahore, Pakistan.

One of the forefathers of Australian fistball; Malcolm Donnellon has been rewarded for his fierce commitment, ongoing leadership and authoritative fist by being named captain of the national squad, while minor viral video celebrity Chris Milne will act as deputy in his role as vice-captain. These two will join with Head Coach Laurence Young to form the ‘Leadership Group’ for the entire campaign.

The President of Australian fistball – Rolf ‘The Godfister’ Petersen – has graciously handed over the team captaincy role to Malcolm, instead leading the Australian team into battle in his roles as Head of Delegation, Federation President and ‘media darling’. With numerous Pakistani press conferences and television interviews behind him, he is more than prepared to be the youthful face of Australian fistball at the World Championships.

Having already been named as Australian Head Coach, Laurence ‘Fistburne’ Young will be joined by assistant coaches Bobby ‘The Rowdy Claw’ Noonan and Alfredo ‘KPU’ Sandoval in organising players, facilitating substitutions and fetching drinks, both on the field and off. To ensure the delegation runs smoothly, the team has enlisted Team Manager Greg Huppatz to oversee the running of general fistball operations.

In addition to the named team, Peter “The Duke” Earl (Bay City Fisters), as well as Laurence Young and Rolf Petersen, will all act as team reserves to replace any late withdrawals prior to departure.

Head of Delegation, Rolf Petersen, on the team selection process:
“The first step in our World Championships team selection was to call for nominations and see how many FiFA Members were willing to commit to the national squad to get an idea of the talent pool available. It is fair to say we were quite surprised and impressed at the number of players that nominated to be considered for selection, and thus had to develop an unprecedented selection process for our first World Championship team.

Initially we looked at players purely from a holistic point of view – i.e. ability, commitment to fistball and team chemistry – but we still had trouble refining our squad down to the required ten. In the end, we elected to hold a selection process assisted by the two Lucas’s (Lucas Traverso & Lucas Pereira) – two Australian-based experienced fistballers from Brazil – to rank each player by position, and effectively determine our top ten playing squad.”

On the now infamous ‘twist’ added to the team selection process:
“Perhaps controversially, I decided that we needed to add a unique FiFA twist to the selection process. Individual competitiveness is great in sport, but can also be crippling if not rounded by a strong team ethos and commitment to the rest of the team. As a counter to the previously mentioned individual selection process and player ranking, I enlisted the help of a former Navy Special Forces diver to add an element of ‘philosophical challenge’ to team selection.

To begin with, we assigned a unique 5 digit numerical code to each player’s individual ranking. We then wrote each of these codes on a piece of steel before chaining it to a channel marker in the chilly waters of Port Phillip Bay. If any player wanted to know where they ranked; they would need to swim out into the bay to find out their unique number and report that number back to me. Only then would I tell them where they ranked in the squad.”

On the reaction of the players to this additional challenge:
“To be honest, the reaction was fairly mixed! Some initially were quite apprehensive, while others immediately embraced the challenge. Pleasingly though, in the following week each team member either bravely undertook the task or came up with their own philosophical reply. We are an unconventional sport here in Australia and, at least during my tenure as FiFA President, I would like to instil a culture that stands us apart from all the normal boring sports.”

On the composition of the team:
“I am extremely satisfied with the depth and commitment of our new squad. Our leadership group has really taken on board the lessons from the Asian Championships in Pakistan last year, and we have been working hard to improve our fistball skills while also developing our own tactics for the WC.”

On the Leadership Group:
“We specifically approached Laurie (Laurence Young) for the coaching role and it has already proven to be a great choice for our squad. As one of the most experienced fistballers in Australia, Mal (Malcolm Donnellon) was an obvious pick for captaincy, particularly given his positional flexibility in both attack and defence. Super Mario (Chris Milne) will be backing them up as Vice-Captain, and all three of them have really helped ramp up our training as we prepare for the WC.”

Team Captain, Malcolm Donnellon, on leading the team into the World Championships:
“It is very humbling to be elected the captain of the Australian Fistball Team, and I look forward to the challenge of leading Australia into its first ever Fistball World Championship. I will be looking to follow in the footsteps of another great Australian champion in Steven Bradbury and help take Australia to victory against all the odds. As far as my style of captaincy goes, I’m certainly more of a Nick Maxwell than a Gary Ablett, but as the great Groucho Marx once said ‘only one man in a thousand is a leader of men – the other 999 follow women.’”

The Australian Fistball Team is currently running various fundraising events and seeking major sponsor for their team. If you are interested in helping their cause, please contact the Fistball Federation of Australia via email (contact@fistball.com.au) or via their Facebook page (www.facebook.com/FistballFederationAustralia).

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Standing (L to R): Bryce ‘His Fistiness The Pope’ Griesheimer, Jason ‘Richo’ Denholm, Carl ‘Carlossus’ Creasey, Lee ‘The Power Station’ Morony
Sitting (L to R): Brent ‘Jellyfist’ Lehmann, Jason ‘Butchers’ Beelders, Malcolm ‘Mr Fister’ Donnellon (Captain), Chris ‘Super Mario’ Milne (Vice-Captain), Eric ‘The Dog’ Maddocks, Richard ‘Buckfist’ Williams
Lying Across: Rolf ‘The Godfister’ Petersen (Head of Delegation)
Momentarily Out Of The Photo: Laurence “Fistburne” Young (Head Coach)

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