The ACT Rockets are undergoing their final preparations ahead of the Australian Indoor Cricket Open Championships to be held in Brisbane next week.
Members of Australia’s Indoor World Cup winning side, Matthew Floros and Vinesh Bennett have been named as captain and vice-captain respectively.
The most experienced player in the side, Bennett previously donned the blue of New South Wales for eight years before switching to the ACT in 2007.
An incumbent Australian player since 2005, Bennett believes that it is time for the Rockets to perform, following a rebuilding phase over the past few seasons.
“The main focus this year is to walk the walk. We’ve been building for a few years now and this is our opportunity”, said Bennett.
“A lot of the guys have come from juniors straight in to opens, and it’s a big step, [from] playing juniors to opens, with the intensity and the pressure that comes with playing at the open level.”
“This year we’ve been putting it together week in, week out at training, so now we just need to go and test ourselves against the country’s best players.”
Bennett’s fingerprints will be all over the National Championships, with his own line of cricket bats becoming the willow of choice for Australia’s leading indoor players.
“Probably the only thing that I don’t like is when I bowl and get hit for seven off one of my own bats. That’s a bit of a disappointment, that actually happens more than what I would allow it to”, he laughed.
Squad member Brock Winkler recognised that while the championships are an opportunity to put up his hand for national selection, the national title is the sole focus of the Rockets.
“Everyone is striving for Australian honours of course, you want the personal glory, but first and foremost we want the national title. Anything after that is a bonus.”
“We’re looking to peak at the right time, so that’s through training, and we’ve had practice games where we’re building toward where we want to be.”
Hot off the back of his recent Australian Under 17s selection, young gun Benji Floros acknowledged that his Opens experience has been a massive learning curve.
“[I’m] always looking up to the older guys to see what they can tell me, and push my game a bit further. I’m still learning a lot about the game, and about myself.”
“We’ve got twelve players that have all played at the biggest stage there is, and they all know what’s to come. If we fight for it, and really want it, we might come out with the trophy.”
A member of the Australian Under 20 World Cup winning side, Alexander Floros believes his side are capable of bringing the trophy back to the nation’s capital.
“I think we’ve got a really strong team, both with the younger guys coming through and we’ve got a lot of experience in the team. “
“I think if we bring that all together, and gel as a team, we can definitely win the title.”
“Brisbane is always a good place to play. They’ve got a very strong competition up there with Super League, and things like that.”
The Rockets begin their tournament with a highly anticipated clash against Western Australia on Sunday.
Alex Bazzana (Southern), Vinesh Bennett (Queanbeyan), Benji Floros (Tuggeranong), Matthew Floros (Tuggeranong), Timmy Floros (Tuggeranong), Alexander Floros (Tuggeranong), Matthew Hewat (Southern), Sam Lang (Queanbeyan), Matthew Latham (New Zealand), Grant McDonald (Tuggeranong), Luke Ryan (Tuggeranong), Brock Winkler (North Canberra Gungahlin). Billy Floros (coach), Marie Hart (manager)
ARTICLE WRITTEN FOR YABBA