EXCITING NEW AVL SEASON STARTS WITH A BANG

The 2016 Australian Volleyball League season is shaping up to be the best ever, with new teams, new players, and matches being played all over the country.

The growth of volleyball in Australia has been incredible in the past four years, and the recent announcement of a new Centre of Excellence for the women’s Volleyroos at the AIS in Canberra is set to grow the sport even further.

In 2016 the men’s competition will see the re-emergence of a young team from the Centre of Excellence in Canberra, under the guidance of experienced Australian coach, Dan Illot.

There will also be a new team in NSW, the Sydney Warriors, in a nine-team competition. The Oceania Orcas will not be fielding a team in this year’s men’s or women’s competition.

There will be eight teams competing in the women’s competition, with an exciting new Sydney team, the Sydney Amazons, replacing the Oceania Orcas.

Volleyball fans won’t need to wait long for a replay of the men’s grand final from last year, with the Queensland Pirates hosting the Canberra Heat this weekend in Coomera.

The Pirates will be looking for revenge after last year’s shock loss to the Heat in the grand final. The result denied the Queenslanders a third consecutive title, and was their only loss of the 2015 season.

The Warriors will make their debut appearance in a Sydney derby against UTSSU in the other eastern conference match-up this weekend, with the Centre of Excellence team enjoying a first-round bye.

The Southern Conference kicks off the following weekend.

In the women’s draw, only the eastern conference will kick off this weekend, with Sydney Amazons also facing a derby against UTSSU for their debut match, while Queensland Pirates host Canberra Heat.

The three-time title holders, Uni Blues, will take on the VVA Vultures on the following weekend.

The Blues will start favourites once again as they chase a fourth title. The team is coached by Volleyroos coach, Shannon Winzer, and boasts five members of last year’s Australian Grand Prix team, including captain Shae Sloane.

This year’s AVL will see matches played in capital cities throughout Australia, as well as regional centres like Albany, in Western Australia, and Horsham, Victoria.

The competition finals will be contested in Melbourne on the weekend of December 3 and 4.