AUSTRALIA PLACES FIFTH AT QUIDDITCH WORLD CUP

Australia has placed fifth the fourth iteration of the Quidditch World Cup in Florence, Italy overnight. Team Australia, affectionately known as the Dropbears, lost only two games over the weekend; both to the United States, in pool play and in the quarter final.

America went on to win the gold at the event, while Belgium and Turkey shocked everyone to come second and third respectively. The United Kingdom came fourth, just missing out on the podium.

On the first day of the tournament, Australia put in amazing performance, notching up impressive wins against The Netherlands (220*-0), Austria (170*-10), and Vietnam (170*-20).

A close game against the United States – a rematch of the 2016 final which Australia won – was the only blemish on their day one record, with a strong comeback by the US leaving them as 90*-60 victors.

Entering bracket play on day two, the sixth-seeded Dropbears faced Mexico in the Round of Sixteen, winning that game 110*-30.

Due to the complex draw and seeding system, this meant a Quarter-Final against the United States. Showing off a revised playstyle that was better suited to the Dropbears, America ran away with the game 100*-20 – knocking out Australia and meaning for the first time, we would not win a podium place at this World Cup.

The campaign continued in consolation matches for fifth place, by first taking on host nation Italy in a rematch from the Opening Ceremony exhibition. The Dropbears were too strong once again, winning 180*-50.

In the fifth-place play-off game, Australia put together another cohesive offensive effort to beat a strong France outfit 210*-80.

Coach Gen Gibson said after the tournament: “We played our best game, and there’s no shame in losing a tight game against the world champions. We brought our all, and showed the world we are one of the powerhouses. We worked hard to be here, and have loved every second. The world still knows the high quality of play Australia is capable of. Not to mention the quality of our referees, snitches and volunteers.”

Manager Nic Hirst said after the tournament: “It was another incredible World Cup for Australia, with the team training hard for months. Over a hundred Australians made it over to Europe to support the Dropbears, and it is humbling having the support we did. Special thanks to those that volunteered time to help the Team and the event; from running the live stream to refereeing games, we could not have done this without all of you”

President of Quidditch Australia and Dropbears Vice-Captain Luke Derrick said after the game: “The end result may look disappointing, but that’s not how the team sees it. This is a huge achievement for the team, and every single one of them and the support team behind us – especially Coach Gen Gibson – deserve a huge amount of praise. This is a testament to how far the Australian Quidditch community has come. We have strengthened our domestic competition over the years, producing quality player after quality player. We had a concrete plan to choose our best players for Team Australia and have them train together several times before the World Cup began. We may not have been able to beat an American outfit significantly better than their 2016 squad, but our strong results against other top teams from around the world shows that our plans worked brilliantly and we will come back even stronger in 2020. It has been an absolute privilege to help lead this team, and Quidditch Australia as a whole.”

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