In the lead up to the 2017 World Games in Wroclaw, Poland, we had a chat to Cat Phillips - one of the stars of Australia's Ultimate Frisbee team. Cat gave us the latest from the Aussie Crocs camp as they prepare to take on the best in the world.
(Cat Phillips (r) in action in a recent test match against Japan. PHOTO: Bruce Huynh Photography)
How have the Aussie Crocs' preparations been going?
Our prep has been exciting to say the least! We’ve had some last minute changes to the roster due to injury, but everyone has made sure this has happened as smoothly as possible and the team is looking really good.
Our training up until now has been mostly in small groups (as we’re spread around the country), so we’re all looking forward to meeting up in Europe and getting some more time in with the whole group. We’ve also just had an engagement and a newborn baby from two of our team members!!
When do you head overseas?
The Crocs are meeting up in Warsaw on the 15th, spending a few days there to acclimatise and get used to the time zone. We then head to the athlete’s village in Wroclaw on the 18th, with the tournament starting on the 21st.
I’m actually already in London – I’m spending the week here before meeting up with the team in Poland.
Will you be playing any warm-up matches in the lead-up to the Games?
We’ve had a number of warm up matches in Australia already, with two international test matches against Japan, and games against three of the top Australian Men’s teams (Colony, Chilly and Heads of State). These have been invaluable for our preparation, allowing the team to get used to playing against different opposition, test our structures, and practice playing at the highest level.
We’ve got one warm up match left, against the Polish World Games team, so that will be a great opportunity to play against a team we’ll be meeting at the tournament. I’ve never played against Poland before, so that’s definitely one that I’m really looking forward to.
What is the format of the tournament?
The top five teams in the world have qualified (USA, Australia, Canada, Japan, Colombia), and then the host nation (Poland) also gets a spot. The tournament runs over three days, with each team playing every other team over the first two and a half days.
At the end of these five pool play games, the top two teams progress to the final, playing off for the gold medal. It all happens very quickly, and basically every game is a must win!
What are Australia’s chances?
Australia is seeded second, coming off the back of strong performances at the 2016 World Championships. We’ve had a number of senior players retire or take time off, so the team has less experience than it has in the past, but we’ve got some great athletes who are debuting this time around. I think our style of play will push the best teams in the world, and we’re a strong medal chance.
Who is the team to look out for?
USA are definitely the team to beat, having won all three gold medals on offer at the 2016 World Championships. In saying that, The World Games is such a great tournament because any team can win.
It’s generally a really even playing field, and games can come down to one point or one turnover. Colombia is also a good one to keep an eye on – their women in particular are very strong, and they’re a strong up and coming nation. They play a really exciting and dynamic brand of Ultimate, so their games are always good fun to watch.
How can fans tune in?
The games will all be live streamed over the internet. The Aussie Crocs social media accounts will post the details as they become available, so you can follow along either via Facebook, Instagram or our website (www.aussiecrocs.com).
I’ll also have updates about the tournament on my Instagram - @catphill35.
The opening ceremony of The World Games will be held on Thursday July 20 at 7:00pm local time (Friday July 21, 3:00am AEST)
The Aussie Crocs first match of the tournament commences at 6:45pm AEST on Friday July 21.