AUG Team Profile - Golf

How has your team gone in the past?

The team came 8th in 2015, and then we backed it up with a 2nd place showing in 2016. 

How is the team looking?:

The team is looking good! We're all incredibly excited to go one better than last year and have gelled well as a team so far, with the inclusion of team rookies Callum Bakken, Sean Smith and Ben Fynmore. Ben took out the team long drive contest on an indoor golf simulator with a 265m whack, and it will be fun to see how he goes on the Palm Meadows Golf Course, this years venue.

The goal of your team?

Ultimately, the goal will be to be competitive and to improve on our position from last year. Golf is an individual sport by and large and the opportunity to compete as a team doesn't come along very often, hence, it is important to us that we enjoy the tournament and each others company, get to know our playing partners and contemporaries from other unis and represent Monash in the best way possible.

Who are the teams to beat in the competition?

RMIT is always competitive and they beat us to top spot last year, so we will be wary of the threat they present. However, we wont know the strength of the competition until we get to the Gold Coast, as it varies greatly from year to year.

Who to look out for?

One player to watch for sure would be our star rookie, Callum Bakken. We expect big things from him and am excited to see how he goes in his first AUG appearance. As always, sweet swinging Will Kendall will pose a serious threat if his putter gets hot, as will last years top performer, Cameron Kaye. The team is also excited to see how lefty Sean Smith and our resident bomber, Ben Fynmore perform. 

Good luck and bring home the GOLD!!!🏆😍 #monashpride

#bleedblue #MonashGolf #teammonash

AUG Team Profile - Men's Football

Men’s football has been on an upward trajectory over the last several years. Finishing 5th in Sydney (2014), despite comfortably beating the eventual champions in the group stage, 3rd on the Gold Coast (2015), and 2nd in Perth (2016). The team unfortunately lost to the University of Melbourne in the gold medal match last year and are looking for revenge.

The team is looking to match last year’s result. However, unlike last year they will be pushing to convert a birth in the gold medal match into a victory. Considering the talent of the squad, it would be a disappointing outcome to not, at the very least, walk away with a medal.

Football has always been a tight competition, especially when the Games are on the Gold Coast and teams bring stronger squads. Monash will look out for the traditional powerhouses of university football, the University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney. However, overlooking teams like UNSW, VU, UTS and La Trobe could be costly.

This year’s team is the strongest in recent history with many talented players fighting for their place in the starting XI. The entire squad of 19 is good enough to be in the starting XI, highlighting the strength of the team. In addition, Monash has welcomed the return of Coach Brian Vasey, who brings a wealth of experience coaching at the top level in Victorian football.

In such a strong squad it is tough to highlight just one or two players. However, look out for one of our beloved players called Simba. He has been known to take teams apart with his speed and dribbling ability. The football team has added several strong new players, keep an eye on Tony, notorious for his ability to embarrass his teammates, he has been unreal in training. Also watch out for Ryan who's been nothing but class in the middle of the field.

Good luck to the boys as they push for a gold medal! #monashpride #bleedblue #teammonash

AUG Team Profile - Men's Futsal

Men’s futsal have a long history of success. In the past three years the men's team have won Gold (2014), Silver (2015) and Bronze (2016) at AUG. In addition to Silver (2015) and Bronze (2016) at SUG.

The team is currently going through a transition period. The ‘golden generation’ have passed on the baton to the new generation, with no futsal players from last year’s team in the squad. The new team has been working hard to form the chemistry needed to succeed in futsal. They have been putting in 100% effort with training and picking things up extremely quickly, they are shaping up to be a strong and competitive side.

The team has two goals. The team wants to make it to the gold medal match and take out the competition. However, they are also aiming to develop a strong foundation, to allow them to extend their abilities into future competitions representing Monash.

Men's futsal for the last few years have been dominated by Monash, RMIT and ECU all three of these teams have been extremely competitive and produced spectacular games of futsal and finals to be involved in. However, like the Monash team, the team is expecting a few changes to the other team lists this year.

This year we have three young guns to watch out for. Firstly the new GK Samir he comes from a strong futsal background and will be for sure one of the best in the competition. We also have two new players Matt Bucello and George Cummins who have shown to dominate the court and produce some great plays.

AUG Team Profile - Squash

How has your team gone in the past?

The Monash team in the past has been the Sydney Swans of University games – consistently making the finals, but suffering badly from injury and circumstance. The last gold for the men’s team was in 2015, whilst the girls took home silver last year.

How is the team looking?

The team this year is looking scarier than Toby Greene’s right hook. The women have a solid backbone of tennis experience and are led by veteran Shaylee Mann, whose skills would give most of the men a run for their money. Leading the men’s team, with squash ability in inverse proportion to his height, is pocket dynamo Darren Chan. Both teams bat deep and confidence is running high.

The goal of your team?

The team is obviously hungry for success, a great aspect of University games is getting to play solid squash with players from around Australia. There are some very good players at University games, and the team is excited for a challenge against athletes they wouldn’t otherwise get to play.

Who are the teams to beat in the competition?

Scoping out the competition before University games is about as straightforward as getting a perfect round in footy tipping this year. Nevertheless, it always pays to watch out for La Trobe. Their banter is usually vastly superior to their squash ability, but they’ve upped the ante in recent years with a couple of young guns who’re putting the squash and banter on an equal footing. Adelaide University are returning this year with a new-look outfit – it’s not clear whether this will be a Collingwood or Sydney style rebuild, but Adelaide are traditionally very competitive!

Who to look out for?

The odds are shortening on Darren Chan to go the entire tournament without dropping a single set, following a stellar performance recently in which he took the World No. 40 to five sets! Look out for University games
rookies Nic Gibbs and Benedict Long to play excellent squash at second and third seeds on the men’s team – Nic is banging on the door of Victoria’s top 50 and Benedict isn’t far behind.

On the girl’s team, look out for Zoe Lineham and Anita Karapanos, who are both converting years of competitive tennis and excellent fitness into high performance on the squash court. Shaylee Mann at first seed brings a wealth of squash experience as well as drop shots that would make James Willstrop weep.

Good luck to the squash teams, all of Monash is right behind you!! 🏆

#monashpride #bleedblue #teammonash

AUG Team Profile - Men's Badminton

Men’s badminton is the team to beat. Having won the gold medal at the 2016 Australian University, the target is firmly on their heads.

The team is looking as strong as ever, with a victory over rivals the University of Melbourne in the Varsity Challenge, earlier this year, cementing their status going into the competition.

The men’s badminton team have asserted that going back-to-back is not the only goal for the week, but also going through the entire tournament undefeated as a realistic aim.

The team have identified the University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney as difficult opponents. Both are traditionally strong, and are bringing strong teams to try a defeat the reigning champions.

Who are players to watch out for? The team boast Olympian Matthew Chau and are hoping his talent and experience will guide Monash University to another gold medal.

Good luck guys, we know you’ll be amazing! #monashpride #bleedblue #teammonash

AUG Team Profile - Lawn Bowls

The Monash University lawn bowls team is the reigning Australian University Games champion. 

The team are renowned for their high standards having won a medal in the last 3 years.

The team have been busy recruited some talented players to further their push for back-to-back gold medals. The team will settle for nothing less than winning gold again.

There will be a few new faces in the team this year due to several players being unavailable, however, with a strong core group of players the team is confident in their ability and that they will challenge for gold.

The Lawn Bowls Team Organiser highlighted the new additions of Max Goldsmith and Rahul Banakar as key to their team’s chances.

Max has all the potential in the world to represent Australia in the future and adds some class to the team.

Rahul Banakar has been strong in training and is also an excellent addition to the team.   

Deakin have been identified as a highly anticipated match, with both universities playing for gold in 2016.

Newcastle are said to be making a long-awaited return to the competition, with a strong team.

However, the Monash team is confident in their ability despite the strength of other universities.

Good luck to the Lawn Bowls team in their push for back-to-back gold! #monashpride

#bleedblue #teammonash

AUG Team Profile - Men's Basketball

Basketball men have a long tradition of success with their last 5 years including 2 gold medals and a silver medal.

The team will be looking to build on their success with another strong tournament. Basketball Team Organiser Craig Dent highlighted his team’s squad depth as the standout feature of the team.

The men’s basketball team is taking a full squad (12), with many capable of playing multiple positions.

“The goal is always to provide opportunities for students to represent Monash at the highest level. However, it is rare to have so many individually talented athletes suiting up in the same squad; a fact that we are looking to take advantage of,” said Craig.

Monash will face some tough competition at the Games on their quest for a gold medal.
“The old Monash-Melbourne rivalry is still burning hot, with our boys taking a 4-point victory in overtime during the 2017 varsity Challenge.”

“The recent 3x3 tournament on the Gold Coast also saw dominant displays by Macquarie and Griffith, but how we match up in 5x5 is yet to be seen.”

Craig identified 2 players to watch out for.

Umair Naleer - 2nd-year player, originally from Sri Lanka. Umair will be the quickest and craftiest point guard at the tournament, and his work-rate is second-to-none.

Nic Laycock - Nic played college basketball in the US for Iowa Central. A highly skilled athlete sure to entertain.

Monash have secured the services of Paul Furman as their head coach.

Paul was the Monash Men's head coach from 2012-2015, in that time he guided them to the collection of: two Golds, one Silver, and a trip to South Korea. In 2016 Paul coached the Monash Women's program, helping them secure a Silver medal and a trip to China for the World University League 3x3 Final. 

Despite being eligible to suit up and play for Melbourne University this year, Paul has decided to come back and lead the Monash Men to victory on the Gold coast.

Good luck team, bring home the gold medal! #monashpride

#bleedblue #teammonash

Monash Unversity to represent FISU Oceania at 3x3 Basketball World University League

Student-athletes from Monash University will represent FISU Oceania at the upcoming International University Sports Federation (FISU) 3x3 Basketball World University League.

The competition will be held from 14-17 September in Xiamen, China, and marks the fifth phase of a qualification pathway which saw student-athletes from across Australia compete in intervarsity, regional and national competitions.

The Monash University women’s team progressed through all stages of the national competition at the Gold Coast’s Pacific Fair Shopping Centre in August to earn the right to represent FISU Oceania at the World University League.

Australian University Sport CEO Don Knapp said the international trip to China adds another dimension to the range of multisport events already on offer to Australian universities and their student-athletes.

“A key aim of Australian University Sport is to enable student-athletes to participate in competitive sport at regional, national and international levels through a dual career education and sport pathway,” Mr Knapp said.

“The FISU 3x3 Basketball World University League is the perfect way to celebrate international rivalry and sport participation opportunities by providing student-athletes with the chance to qualify and represent FISU Oceania.”

President of FISU Oceania Martin Doulton commended Australian University Sport for putting on an innovative, high quality and very public showcase for the FISU Oceania qualifying tournament.

“The very idea of bringing the competition out of a cold lonely sports hall into the middle of one of Australia's busiest shopping centres highlighted the innovative nature of Australian University Sport and sets the benchmark for future qualifiers for similar FISU Oceania tournaments to follow,” Mr Doulton said.

Lucy Dawson, Head of Delegation and a member of the Monash University bronze medal winning 3x3 team from the 2015 World University League, said the team is excited at the prospect of once again playing against international-level talent.

“You can expect Monash University will be a well drilled, hard-nosed and determined opponent on the court in Xiamen, and we're really looking forward to the challenge," Ms Dawson said.

Football's finest Jessica Au

Monash University’s own Jessica Au is a rare breed, someone who thrives under the glare of bright lights.

Jessica is not only an elite soccer player, but also undertaking her Medicine degree at Monash.

Having been touted as a promising player, Jess has been part of the Melbourne Victory system since the age of 16 years and signed a professional contract with Victory in 2014.

Jess described the day she was offered a senior contract.

“I was just sitting in the change room getting ready because I had got to training early, we knew that he would make a squad announcement in the next week or two but I wasn't expecting him to offer me a contract right there and then, he did it so casually, just walked up and asked how my day was and then he said your hard work has finally paid off, I’m going to offer you a senior victory contract,” said Jess.

“I promised myself I'd stick with it until I made the senior squad and it was amazing to sign on with a team who had won the premiership the year before.”

Currently Jess is playing for Southern United in the WNPL while she completes her first year of Medicine in Gippsland.

“It has been tough to manage, especially because Monash’s postgraduate Medical school is in Gippsland, which meant I had to leave my initial club, Calder United, because it was now 3 hours away.”

Jess was part of the Calder United team that won the 2016 NPLW championship, beating Galaxy United in extra time to win the grand final.

Despite leaving her club and prioritising her degree this year, Jess is adamant she will return to the NPL and make her way back into the W-league or shift her focus into futsal where she will be heading off to Nationals with the Victorian squad later on in the year.

“Once I get this year of Medical school over, I'll be able to return back to Victory and have another crack at the W-league.”

Whilst it’s going to be tough to juggle studying Medicine and a promising soccer career, Jess is on the right track to become a great doctor with a successful soccer career.

Jess has also represented Monash University at two Australian University Games campaigns in outdoor (2015) and futsal (2016), being selected in the green and gold squad for both tournaments.

The futsal Team Organiser described Jess as an “absolute superstar, with a lot of skill and grace.”

Her talents will be on display later this year, as Jess will be part of a strong women’s outdoor team that will compete at the 2017 Australian University Games on the Gold Coast.

The aim for the team is gold, with Jess targeting selection for the green and gold squad.

Jess is revered in the AUG soccer circle, with many turning to her when games are at a crucial point.

Why you may ask, you will just have to come down and watch her play one day to truly understand how good she is.

Monash University wishes Jess all the best as she completes her Medicine degree and chases her dream as an elite soccer player.

Go get ‘em Jess! #monashpride

#bleedblue #teammonash 

AUG team profiles - Taekwondo

Heading into it’s 35th year at the Australian University Games, the Monash University Taekwondo club is aiming to upkeep its huge success within the games. With a record of winning 30 of the previous games, ideally 2017 will bring the team and university its 31st win for the martial art.

With a team of 40 competitors, 2 coaches, 3 support staff and 1 sports trainer, the team is not only large in numbers, but also large in courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit - the 5 tenants of Taekwondo.

Whilst the surface goal is to bring back another win, underlying this is each individual’s goals and expectations to improve their abilities in the sport, as well as to step off the competition mats proud of their performances.

The team’s greatest competition is the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales. Both large and hard-working teams, Monash University Taekwondo strives to train hard and beat them to the gold.

Many of our previous competitors will return this year, with some training harder than ever to overcome individual defeats in previous years. The team’s combination of dedicated older members and ambitious newer members, is sure to bring a memorable year for the club at the university games.

With the guidance of coaches Jaeyoung Kim and Kyung Choon Woo, Monash University Taekwondo is sure to bring home not only the prestigious trophy, but a stronger group of friendships and experience.

Good luck to the taekwondo team as they look to continue their dominance in the sport! #monashpride

#bleedblue #teammonash

AUG team profile – Women’s basketball 🏀

Women’s basketball will be looking to continue their outstanding form, having achieved a silver last year in Perth, in addition to their success in 3x3 basketball earlier this year.

The team is looking strong, with 6 players returning from last year’s Games and 4 new additions who are all extremely talented. Having so much depth and balance in the team will make our girls formidable and difficult to beat.

The girls have one goal – redemption. Having unfortunately lost to the University of Sydney in the gold medal match last year, this year is their chance to prove that they are the best team in the country.

The competition will be tough, despite being confident in their own ability. The girls have identified the University of Sydney and Macquarie as two teams to look out for.

The team will be led by the experienced Sophie Tarabolsi, last year’s Monash Sport captain, with both Jacqui trotto and Emily Rylance being highlighted as new players to look out for.

Good luck girls, bring home the gold! 🥇🏆

#bleedblue #monashpride #teammonash

Summer Universiade wrap-up

Congratulations to the Australian Uniroos on a successful campaign at the 29th Summer Universiade, with the Uniroos winning 9 medals. Monash University had seven students compete at the Universiade with one gold medal winner!

Athithan Selladurai (badminton) – Competed in three events where he placed: 36th in the men’s doubles, 63rd in the men’s singles and 11th with the Australian mixed team.

Ruby Neave (diving) – Finished 18th in the women’s 3 metre springboard and 20th in the women’s 1 metre springboard.

Heming Hu (Table Tennis) – Participated in four events where he placed: 65th in men’s singles, 33rd in men’s doubles, 17th with the Australian men’s team and 33rd in mixed doubles.

Rossalean To (Table Tennis) – Finished her campaign in 65th in the women’s singles and 17th with the Australian women’s team.

Leo Hurley (water Polo) – The men’s water polo team played Korea in the 11th/12th playoff and had a strong 18-3 win to finish 11th overall.

Georgia Griffiths (Athletics) - Georgia crossed the line in fourth place before being given the bronze medal after the race winner was disqualified. However, after a three-day appeal the disqualification was reversed, meaning Georgia finished fourth.

Aimie Clydesdale (basketball) – The emerging Opals produced three stunning playoff matches to defeat USA, Chinese Taipei and Japan in the final to win their first gold medal in ten years.

Congratulations to all those who were involved on a great effort! #monashpride

#bleedblue #teammonash

Leo Hurley selected for the World University Games

Monash University’s own Leo Hurley has been selected to represent Australia at the World University Games in water polo.

An extremely proud moment for Leo, one he shared with his parents calling them immediately after receiving the good news.

“It is an honour to play for Australia and represent my supporters from my club, former coaches and teammates, friends and family, especially at a large international event like the Universiade. It makes me appreciate the unique opportunities I’ve been given by training harder and playing fair.”

Leo played for the Victorian Seals in the National Water Polo League in 2016 and currently plays for Melbourne Collegians in Victoria’s state competition.

Whilst playing in the Olympics would be a “dream come true,” for Leo, his immediate aspirations are to play club water polo in Europe furthering his development as a player, in addition to experiencing a different culture.

Leo is also completing a Bachelor of Music with a specialisation in jazz improvisation, despite it being challenging to balance studies and sport Leo is making the best out of the situation.

“It requires a big commitment to manage my time well and regularly sacrifice being with friends and family to train and play, but playing sport has always been a rewarding and healthy experience for me so I never view my commitment to water polo in a negative light.”

Leo is part of the Monash Elite Student Performer Scheme, which helps students coordinate their sporting and academic schedule.

“Being a member of Monash’s Elite Student Performer Scheme has given me access to Monash’s training facilities and some financial assistance, both of which are of great help. The program also offers me flexibility to better manage my studies when heavy periods of training or competitions arise.”

We wish Leo all the best as he competes at the World University Games.

#bleedblue #teammonash #monashpride 

Heart of a Saint, plays like a warrior - Daniel McKenzie

Round 23, 2016, Daniel McKenzie playing against the Brisbane Lions, attempting to spoil the ball. Picture: AFL Media.

At pick 22 in the 2014 AFL draft, the St. Kilda football club selected Daniel McKenzie from the Oakleigh Chargers.

Having your name called out on draft night is every footballers dream, simply trying to imagine what he was feeling that night is impossible.

Despite being earmarked for a promising career, McKenzie wants to be defined by more than being an AFL player.

McKenzie is currently completing a science degree at Monash University, hoping to become a physio in the future, combining his interest in science and sport.

Uni is great as no one knows I play AFL so I can escape from the constant football conversations. It adds to my identity outside of being just an AFL player.”

“It’s kind of funny, when I was younger a larger proportion of my time was dedicated to school, and football was a great way to get away from thinking about VCE.”

“Now it's the complete opposite, football takes up most of my week and Uni is a great way to get away from the physical and mental stress of hours of training and thinking about upcoming selection.”

Keeping up with university classes and assessments is difficult even for the most diligent students, let alone an AFL player with a busy training schedule, interstate travel and club commitments.

Daniel McKenzie in training for the St. Kilda. Picture: AFL Media

McKenzie emphasised the importance of managing time, which is easier said than done.

“Time management is key, it's important to get work done while you’ve got the time, there will be stages during the semester where multiple assessments are due which can overlap with busy periods in the footy schedule, like interstate travel or multiple long days in a row.”

McKenzie attributes his academic interests and pursuits to his parents who are both maths teachers.

“I would say they are one of the factors as to why I’m doing a Science degree,” said McKenzie.

Support from his parents has been crucial for McKenzie with his education and his development as an elite footballer.

“On the football side of things, they’ve been really good about everything, they never put pressure on me to make any rep side or state side or get drafted.”

“They were just there supporting me and have been coming to nearly every game I’ve played.”

Their support certainly paid off with McKenzie being given a rave review by his coach Alan Richardson, highlighting Mckenzie's abilties on the field, in addition to his genuine good nature off the field.

He’s one of those kids that if you meet him off the footy field you’d want him to marry your daughter because he’s a nice, respectful young man, but as soon as he crosses that white line he turns into an animal and we love that,” said coach Richardson.

Naturally, like anyone who has ever picked up a Sherrin, the ultimate dream is to win a Premiership.
However, McKenzie right now has one priority.

“I want to get into the senior team and cement my spot, which would involve getting bigger, stronger and working on my kick,” said McKenzie.

Daniel McKenzie celebrating after kicking his first AFL goal against the Western Bulldogs. Picture: AFL Media.

McKenzie has been blessed by being able to learn from some of the greats of the game.

“It’s unreal playing under guys like Riewoldt, Montagna and Geary.”

“They are such inspiring leaders who’ve helped me develop my game enormously.”

“Montagna and Geary are two guys I look up to the most at the club as they play the same position as me and have guided me a lot so far, they are guys who get around the younger guys and show a lot of care around the club.”

Coach Alan Richardson recognises that, as with all young players, there is a lot to develop, but Coach Richardson loves the upside of McKenzie.

He’s got a lot of improvement in many facets of his play, but what we saw in the back end of the year (2016) we’re excited by,” said Coach Richardson.

When McKenzie is not busy being an AFL player or a student, he likes to unwind with some good TV shows, music and occasionally playing PlayStation with his mates.

“I love going to live music gigs and festivals, Sticky Fingers, Flight Facilities, Childish Gambino, Arctic Monkeys or Catfish and the Bottlemen are my go to bands/artists,” reflected McKenzie.

“I also can’t look past a good binge of Suits, Game of Thrones or True Detective.”

McKenzie also loves to travel, having been to Japan in the off-season he plans to continue exploring new places around the world.

Team Monash wishes Daniel McKenzie all the best with his AFL career and his Science degree.

#bleedblue #teammonash 

Empowering women to break boundaries - Aira Abarra

It is refreshing to see someone go against the grain of society to follow their passion.

Remarkable is the first word that comes to mind when describing Aira.

Whilst currently completing her studies in nursing and midwifery, Aira is also competing as a professional powerlifter.

Traditionally a male dominated sport, Aira is part of a generation of women who are shattering the traditional mould of women athletes, and establishing a pathway for young girls all over the world to follow their dreams.

“I would love to be part of the movement to increase the representation of women in powerlifting.”

“I hope I could be a relatable role model and assist others to achieve their strength goals in a sustainable way.”

Aira posing for a podium photo after finishing second in the World Bench Press Championship. Picture: Aira Abarra. 

The future, according to Aira, looks promising with “more women getting comfortable in the free weights section in the gym and competition entries slowly rising.”

Community is key for Aira, being surrounded by people who are both accepting and encouraging of women in male dominated sports.

Aira is part of the Elite Student Performers Scheme (ESPS) at Monash University.

She explained that being acknowledged by Monash University for her sporting achievements proved to be an “empowering affirmation."

“The ESPS also offered a dinner which was more than a networking opportunity, I felt less alone in my endeavour to juggle a double life.”

The University has recognised her athletic ability, supporting her both financially and academically.

Aira received an Elite Student Performer Scheme Grant this year to support her endeavours to be a professional powerlifter. 

The grant she received will be put towards improving her training with the use of specialist equipment and more frequent program reviews.

Aira did not shy away from the struggles of being both a student and an elite athlete.

“I am consumed by assessment tasks and uni hurdles, all the while ruminating on gym programs, maintaining optimal rest and nutrition, throw in placement and my life can get chaotic to say the least.”

Receiving support from the faculty of nursing and midwifery has helped me find that balance, in particular Gayle McLelland has been wonderful.

However, Aira wouldn’t trade it for anything, “I am not sure I can envision my life without powerlifting, it has instilled resilience and perseverance.”

What does the future hold for Aira?

Having finished second at the World Bench Press Championship in Texas, held during April, Aira is looking to go from strength to strength.

Aira has her eyes firmly on Nationals in August, “I am eager for my new total to let me move from Elite II to Elite I.”

“I am also hoping to represent Australia once again in the Oceania Championships in Singapore.”

Being her last year in the junior age category Aira is looking to make her mark in the sport “I want to break the national and Oceania bench press records for my weight class.”

We are sure Aira will achieve great things with her attitude and hard work.

All of Monash University is right behind you Aira!

#bleedblue #teammonash

Connecting with culture, Indigenous University Games is more than a sporting event

The 2017 Indigenous University Games presents an opportunity for indigenous students from across Australia to come together and compete in a variety in sports.

An event which encompasses more than sport, however, there is a real focus around connecting with those from the same cultural background.

Team Organiser Robyn Oxley said, “the Indigenous University Games extend the strong cultural traditions of community gathering.”

“It enables a connection from the Yulendj Indigenous Engagement Unit with broader Universities around Australia.”

“It is an opportunity for Indigenous students to network with other Indigenous University students and staff while showcasing some of our sporting and social talents.”

“The Indigenous University Games is an inclusive event that captures the Indigenous cohort and being able to represent Yulendj and Monash University is an absolute privilege that will be preserved for many generations of Yulendj Indigenous students, to come.”

The 2016 team photo. Picture: TeamMONASH

Monash student and returning Indigenous Athlete Liam Ketchup is very passionate about the Indigenous University Games.

Liam identified the focal point of the event “it’s an opportunity to play sport and connect with my culture, people who have the same interests and beliefs as you.”

It is also an opportunity for those within the Monash team to grow together.

“Everyone in the team comes together, we have trained together and we have become closer,” said Liam.

“It is a chance to consolidate the relationships you’ve created, and surround yourself with people from the same culture, we all support and look out for each other.”

The Indigenous University Games will be held in Geelong, June 25 – 29.

Each university team will compete in a different sport each day, Basketball – Monday, Netball – Tuesday, Volleyball – Wednesday, and Touch – Thursday.

Monash University competing in the Netball at the 2016 Indigenous University Games.
Picutre: Australian University Sport.

Liam has outlined Monash’s ambitions.

“We are an all-round team, with lots of strong individuals with great athletic ability, said Liam.

“We’d love to take out a sport, in particular basketball, our team has a few very strong basketball players.”

Monash has made it a habit of improving their results each year, Liam highlighted the significance of improving on their overall finish from last year.

“It’s important that we improve on last year, maintain the trend, and continue to set a high standard to aim for each year.”

Monash University wishes the team heading to the Indigenous University Games all the best as they both compete in the sporting competitions and connect with other indigenous students from around Australia.

#bleedblue #teammonash

Gunning for gold, ultimate frisbee built for success

Monash University has a tradition of success in ultimate frisbee, one which will hopefully be continued at the 2017 Southern University Games.

Held in Geelong, from July 2 – 6, it is the perfect opportunity for student athletes to compete in a participation based event against like-minded students from across the south region: Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.

The Games has built up a reputation as an event not to be missed, attracting over 1,800 competitors each year.

Monash University will send two Ultimate Frisbee teams to the competition.

Monash Ultimate Frisbee (MUF) Blue represents the pinnacle of Ultimate at Monash University.

Coming off a tough loss last year, losing the eventual winning team in the semis and coming third, MUF Blue is making a bid for the top spot in 2017.

A combined team photo with both the MUF blue team and the MUF white team.
Picture: Monash Ultimate Frisbee (MUF)

Boasting a strong roster of both veterans and rookies, the team fields 1 former national athlete, 6 current national squad members and 8 former state athletes.

In addition to local grown talent, the team has enlisted the help of two Monash Malaysia players - both who currently are part of the Malaysian national squad.

Not only does MUF blue have a wealth of experience, the team has also given 4 upcoming rookies the chance to prove themselves on the big stage.

Armed with athleticism, good fundamentals and a passion to improve, the new recruits look to make their mark.

Bringing up the vanguard, the club has signed on the help of past club member, former national athlete, 2-time University Games Gold medallist Declan Frey as the coach.

Under his leadership, the team seeks to implement high level strategy to defeat our main rivals this year at Melbourne and Deakin University.

MUF Blue team photo. Picture: Monash Ultimate Frisbee (MUF)

With this combination of talent, experience and good leadership, MUF Blue aims to put Monash University at the top and prove to be the best team at SUGs.

The second team Monash University will be sending to compete in the ultimate frisbee competition is the MUF White tea,.

They are Monash’s developing, mixed Ultimate Frisbee team, made up of up-and-coming players looking to make an impact at Southern University Games.

They may be young, but they are hoping to make heads turn and establish themselves as a team to look out for in future tournaments.

For many of the guys and gals, this will be their first frisbee tournament, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look out for Wes Flavell with some long throws and Stevie Thomas, quick on defence.

MUF white team photo. Picture: Monash Ultimate Frisbee (MUF)

What about the girls?

Many would have had at least their first Ultimate Frisbee experience at Australian University Games last year.

They faced some tough competition, but after a full women’s season over the summer they’re coming back strong, ready to lead MUF White into some more tough battles at SUGs.

It won’t be hard to spot Shannon Newn cutting through the end zone, or Miranda Cowley, new to the sport, but a natural on defence.

They’re a strong team on the rise so keep your eyes out for them, because according to team “we’re looking to impress.”

Good luck to both teams competing at Southern University Games, Go Monash!

#bleedblue #teammonash

Great Britain hits a Homerun with Monash University’s Ashleigh Carolan

The significance of the local park is often forgotten, a magical place where legends are born, limited only by their imagination.

For Ashleigh Carolan, Jells Park, in Melbourne’s South East, holds a special place in her heart.

“A friend from school invited me down to the local association at Jells Park," said Ashleigh.

After my first season learning all of the basic skills: batting, throwing and catching, combined with the strategy involved, made me realise that softball was the sport for me.”

Jells Park was merely the beginning of Ashleigh’s journey.

2015 saw all her hard work and dedication pay off as she was selected in the Great Britain softball team.

Ashleigh batting against Brazil in the Youth World Champs, in America. Picture: Ashleigh Carolan

“Having grown up in England it was always my dream to one day play for my country, so when I was selected in the team I was overwhelmed with pride and joy.”

Ashleigh competed in the 2015 World Junior Softball Championships, an experience she described as no other.

“The experience of playing on the world stage is truly indescribable.”

The 2015 tournament laid down the foundation for Ashleigh to launch her Softball career.

Advance 2 years and Ashleigh has once again been selected in the Great Britain team competing at the XII Junior World Softball Championships, in Clearwater Florida 24th-31st July.

Ashleigh a the catch in the Youth World Champs. Picture: Ashleigh Carolan

The 2017 Junior World Softball Championships presents Great Britain with an opportunity to 
improve on their 2015 tournament.

We are aiming to finish in the top 8 out of the 26 competing nations from all 5 Olympic regions.”

Whilst we are sure she’ll hit the winning Home run in the final, Ashleigh is not getting carried away.

“I am looking forward to playing my part for the team whether that is on or off the field.”

Her modesty will hold her in good stead as she looks to the future.

An action shot of Ashleigh batting at the Youth World Champs.
Picture: Ashleigh Carolan

The talented softball player “hopes to attend the Junior Softball European Championships in 2018, and help Great Britain defend their title after winning the tournament last year.”

Ashleigh is also looking forward to representing Monash at the Australian University Games. 

Currently undertaking a Bachelor of Medical Science and Doctor of Medicine, Ashleigh’s experience at the highest level will prove invaluable to a team chasing Gold.

This is all part of Ashleigh’s grand plan.

With Softball being added to the Japan 2020 Olympic program, Ashleigh has her eyes firmly set on helping Great Britain qualify for the Games, and “perhaps one day play at the Olympics.”

“The future really is limitless,” what started as a dream in the local park, could have endless possibilities, which is exciting for Ashleigh.

We at Monash University wish Ashleigh the best of luck with the Junior World Softball Championships, and all that the future holds for the talented Softball player.

Go get ‘em Ashleigh!


The 2017 Varsity Challenge Review

The 2017 Varsity Challenge went down the wire. Monash had a point to prove after narrowly going down in 2016, the drive to regain our rightful trophy was clear to see.


Cricket – Monash won by 65 runs

TeamMONASH reclaiming the overall 2017 Varsity Challenge
over the University of Melbourne. Picture:
Melbourne University Sport. 
Badminton women – Melbourne won 2 – 2

Badminton men – Monash won 2 – 1

Basketball women – Monash won 54 – 33

Basketball men – Monash won 69 – 65

Soccer women – Melbourne won 9 – 0

Soccer men – Melbourne won 2 - 1

Ultimate Frisbee – Monash won 13 – 8

Table tennis women – Monash won 2 – 1

Table tennis men – Monash won 3 – 0

Volleyball women – Melbourne won 2 – 1

Volleyball men – Melbourne won 3 – 0

Touch football – Melbourne won 6 – 5

Hockey women – Monash won 2 – 1

Hockey men – Melbourne won 2 – 1

Monash reclaimed the Varsity Challenge trophy, winning 8 – 7 overall.

Player Reflections

The 2017 Varsity Challenge proved to be a memorable one.

With Melbourne staging a late and dramatic comeback on the final day of competition, Monash held its nerve to bring home the overall trophy 8 wins to 7.

Monash started off strong with a convincing win in the cricket.

Monash’s cricket captain Sachin Varadarajan reviewed the match “I think we dominated right through. I was really happy with our opening total, 180 should win most T20 matches."

“We also backed up our total with brilliant bowling, taking 3 wickets in the first 2 overs.”

“It was a very enjoyable match to play, made better by the convincing win.”

The Monash University cricket team in the 2017 T20 Varsity Challenge cricket game. Picture: TeamMONASH

Olympian table tennis player and Monash’s very own Heming Hu competed in the Varsity challenge, helping Monash to take out the Men’s table tennis.

"The game was actually quite tough to start with, said Heming.

“I grew up playing a fair bit with my opponent from Melbourne who's a very talented player and has represented Victoria in many occasions at the junior and senior national championships.”

“I felt like I had to win that match because of expectations, the conditions were definitely interesting.”

Monash University's Heming Hu returning serve against his University of Melbourne opponent. Picture: Michael Hoang.

“It was loud, crowded and heated, which was fun but difficult to play in.”

“The first set Steven (University of Melbourne) came out swinging hard at me and I lost the first set quite easily and knew I had to fight hard to get through.

“I started to tighten my game up and grovelled through to get a comfortable 3-1 win after that.”

Monash’s table tennis squad was littered with high-class players, including Rossa To who will be competing for Australia at the World University Games later this year.

She commented on the quality of the competition saying that the “standard of talent was high.”

Rossa said she had connection to the competition as she “felt special to be part of a new history.”

Rossa To serving in the 2017 Varsity Challenge against University of Melbourne. Picture: Michael Hoang.

Monash’s men’s soccer team looked for revenge over a quality Melbourne side who beat them in the gold medal match in Perth.

Both Monash and Melbourne added several high-profile players, with Monash bringing in dominant midfielder Ryan Losty from NPL2 side Eastern Lions.

Ryan reviewed the game saying “We dominated possession, unlucky for us not to get the result. Looking to better them up on the Gold Coast.”

Ryan was unlucky not to score an unbelievable goal to seal a dramatic comeback, instead his shot, from well outside the box, hit the crossbar.

Midfield Thomas Lakic dribbling the ball in the Varsity Challenge against the University of Melbourne. Picture: TeamMONASH

Hockey produced two heart stopping results.

The men looked to have wrapped up the game, having lead for much of the game.

Veteran player Charles Norbury said the “Game was a typically tight affair, with Monash controlling the game for much of it.”

“As is often the case, Melbourne came back late and scored twice to clinch victory.”

The men unfortunately lost in the dying seconds.

However, it was the women’s hockey team who, against all odds, came away with an unlikely victory.

Charles reflected on the game for TeamMONASH and said, “Without a recognised keeper, Monash took the unusual step of playing without a goal keeper for the whole match.”

“To their credit, despite conceding an early goal the girls worked their way back into the game, scoring late to win 2-1.”

Despite the signs showing that Melbourne would make an improbable comeback, the win, by the girl’s hockey team, ensured that Monash would reclaim the Varsity Challenge trophy.



Olympian Heming Hu dominating Australian table tennis

Monash University student and Olympian Heming Hu has had a brilliant start to the 2017 table tennis season.

It was never in doubt that Heming Hu, who’s studying science and education, would become a star in table tennis.

Heming started in the garage at age 6, playing with his family.

It did not take long for Heming to win his first singles title, winning the under 13 National Championship, which would prove to be the beginning of his rise in Australian table tennis.

In the following years, Heming won the Australian Under 15 boys singles title, catapulting him onto the world table tennis scene.

Heming went to represent Australia at the World Junior Championships from 2008 to 2012, which was a “huge dream come true,” said Heming.

“After my first World Junior Championships in 2008, I became literally obsessed and in love with the sport,” reviewed Heming.

A focused Heming Hu about to serve in the 2017 Varsity Challenge against University of Melbourne. Picture: Melbourne University Sports.

However, it was a disappointing qualification bid for the 2010 Youth Olympics which spurred Heming to work harder to achieve the success he desired.

“I missed out by one spot to represent Australia at the 2010 Youth Olympic games, despite being the 1st seed for the qualifying tournament.”

“This urged me on to want it more and more in the future and be hungrier for success.”

Heming Went on to qualify for the 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2016 Rio Olympic Games, representing Australia at both.

Australian table tennis player Heming Hu
 in full flight. Picture: Heming Hu.
Heming Hu serving in his doubles match
at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Picture: Heming Hu.

2017 has seen Heming dominate Australian table tennis.

Heming has won all 4 Men’s singles titles, winning the Croydon Open, the Mornington Open, the Dandenong Open, and the Australian Top 10 tournament.

The Australian Top 10 tournament was held over two days, May 6 and 7, consisting of the top 9 ranked Australian table tennis players, and one player who is given a wildcard.

Heming played in the final against fellow Australian Olympian Chris Yan, who was leading 3 sets to 0, and leading 10 – 8 in the fourth set, giving Yan 2 match points.

Heming saved both match points, in doing so he turned the game around to eventually beat Yan 4 sets to 3 and win the Australian Top 10 event.

Heming posing with the Monash University table tennis team after their win over the University of Melbourne in the 2017 Varsity Challenge. Picture: Melbourne University Sport.

“I have had an extremely wonderful start to the year, incorporated all my experience and skills into the tournaments in 2017,” said Heming.

With his great form, Heming is hoping to do “some extraordinary things at the upcoming World Individual Championships (Dusseldorf, Germany May 29-June 5), ITTF Platinum World Tour Australian Open (July 1-7), Victorian Open (July 24), and World University Games (August 19-30).”

Heming will look to take his great form with him into 2018, where he has one eye firmly focused on qualifying for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Monash University wish Heming all the best with his table tennis and will continue to support him with both his education and his sporting career. 

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