It’s hard to believe that Australia will again play host to a Commonwealth Games, only 12 years after Melbourne did so back in 2006. In that year the focus was on the likes of Craig Mottram (who went onto win silver, in 12.58.19, in one of the most magical 5000m races ever witnessed in Australia), Jana Pittman (gold in the 400m hurdles, one year before she won her second World Championship gold medal), John Steffensen (who went onto win gold in the 400m in a PB of 44.73s) and who could forget the joy in watching Kerryn McCann win gold in the women’s marathon in 2:30.54. In total, Australian athletes won 14 gold medals, including two gold from our star walker in Nathan Deakes.

In 2018 we will again be in for a special treat, especially with the likes of Sally Pearson, Dani Stevens, Dane Bird-Smith and Kurtis Marschall, just to name a few, who will be looking to take home gold from the Gold Coast. All we need to know now is who will be added to the final Australian team for this years Commonwealth Games – especially given there is a quota allocation awarded by the Commonwealth Games Association of 88 athletes.  

Who’s Going to be Wearing the Green and Gold on the Gold Coast?

To be totally honest there are so many unknown’s entering this years Commonwealth Games trials. With limited lead up meetings it’s hard to line up the form for each event, with many of our star athletes preferring to finish off their training blocks rather than compete prior to the trials. In many cases you can understand why athletes with multiple ‘A’ qualifiers would see the need to skip competition in January or early February, although it will be interesting to see what happens if our ‘stars’ don’t perform at the trials. It certainly could lead to some difficult decisions to be made by selectors leading into the February 20 selectors meeting.

Possible Australian Team for the Gold Coast

As you can see below we have put together a possible Australian team for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. However it must be noted that:

  • The list has been completed based on not having the final start lists for the trials
  • There are many possible outcomes that could dramatically change the list (e.g athletes deciding not to double up in events etc)
  • It is unsure how selectors will look at athletes who win the trials but only have ‘B’ qualifying standards next to their name
  • The Commonwealth rankings have been incorporated into the selection process (e.g men’s hammer throw is different to the women’s 800m)
  • There will always be ‘surprise’ performances from athletes at the trials, so we expect some ‘tough’ decisions that will need to be made prior to final team selection.

Our Top-8 Events – Shaping the Final Team

Men’s 100m

Final: 9.05pm Friday 16th February (Local Time), A Standard: 10.15s, Championship Best: Joshua Ross 10.08s (2007)

This event could easily be the ‘must watch’ event of the trials. When you look through the possible finishing order, you start to realise just how many possible outcomes there could be.

Although the favourite would likely be Rohan Browning (after his PB in Brisbane of 10.19s), you could easily have Josh Clarke, Jack Hale or Trae Williams winning the event. Then you have an athlete such as Aaron Bresland from WA, who has a wind-assisted 10.25s next to his name, suggesting that you wouldn’t want to discount him completely. Then there is an athlete like Anas Abu-Ganaba from NSW, who smashed his PB recently with an impressive 10.28s.

The biggest question mark is probably centered around Clarke, and his struggles to stay on the track over the past 2 years. If he is fully fit (and his hamstrings are OK), then he is more than capable of running sub 10.10s.

What we need to see – at least one ‘A’ qualifier (10.15s) from the trials, otherwise we could only see one athlete selected for the Gold Coast – and that would be a major disappointment!

Men’s 800m

Final: 8.13pm Saturday 17th February, A Standard: 1.46.50, Championship Best: Peter Bourke 1.44.78 (1982)

This is an interesting event, especially after seeing the performances from Luke Mathews (1.45.83) and Jeff Riseley (1.46.35) at the ACT Championships in late January. Then you have Joshua Ralph winning over in Perth (1.46.95) and also owning 3 ‘A’ standards, showing that he is in solid form leading into the trials.

The biggest question mark surrounding the event are the two Justin Rinaldi trained athletes in Peter Bol and Joseph Deng. Bol is coming back from injury and owns three ‘A’ standards (including an impressive 1.45.21 PB in from July last year), while Deng is the emerging star of the two laps in Australia, although he doesn’t currently own an ‘A’ standard of 1.46.50.

This could easily come down to the top-3 athletes from the trials ending up wearing the green and gold on the Gold Coast.

Men’s 1500m

Final: 2.50pm Sunday 18th February (Local Time), A Standard: 3.37.50, Championship Best: Jeff Riseley 3.35.71 (2009)

On face value the equation is simple, Ryan Gregson, Luke Mathews (if he decides to complete the 800m/1500m double) and Jordan Williamsz all run well at trials and they all get selected for the Gold Coast. The question is that if Mathews decides to stay away from the 1500m then it opens the door for the likes of Jordan Gusman and James Hansen (3.39.38) to push their way onto the Australian team.

Gusman already owns 8 ‘B’ standards, and is on the verge of a big breakthrough in 2018. He has already recorded a 3.38.80 from Canberra this year and has a PB of 3.37.97. The other interesting athlete is Matthew Ramsden (3.39.39), who could easily have a ‘break out’ run and also push for selection.

Men’s Long Jump

Final: 2.10pm Sunday 18th February (Local Time), A Standard: 8.09m, Championship Best: Mitchell Watt 8.44m (2011), Fabrice Lapierre 8.78mw (+3.1) (2010)

We are all hoping that we can see three Australians competing in the final of the men’s long jump at this years Commonwealth Games, we just need to have all our jumpers fit and healthy for the big day.

Fabrice Lapierre recently jumped 7.70m in the US, so has some form leading into the trials. On the other hand Henry Frayne has missed all competition in 2018, and enters the trials with no real form at all. He’s another athlete who just needs his body to stay in one piece for some big performances to be produced (8.21m last year, one of only three competitions for the year).

The no.1 Australian over the domestic season has been Chris Mitrevski, and if he finds some good conditions then there is nothing to say that he can produce the 8.09m required for an ‘A’ standard. He already owns 5 ‘B’ standards – which will definitely assist him in making the final Australian team.

Women’s 200m

Final: 1.20pm Sunday 18th February (Local Time), A Standard: 23.10s, Championship Best: Melinda Gainsford-Taylor 22.33s (1995)

At last years World Championships we witnessed 17 year-old Riley Day make her debut at senior level, after qualifying with an excellent 23.26s performance at the National Junior Championships. This year we haven’t seen the very best of Day (at least over the 200m), although she has produced a new PB over 100m (11.52s).

Joining her in London was Ella Nelson, and although she didn’t perform at the levels seen back in 2016, there is every confidence that she will back to her very best in 2018. Outside of Nelson and Day there are two new sprinters on the scene – in Jessica Perris (23.31s in December last year) and Maddie Coates (23.26s in Canberra this year). This all makes for a intriguing battle on Sunday, with Jess Thornton and Larissa Pasternatsky also likely to provide some fantastic competition in the final.

We could easily see all spots filled for the Commonwealth Games, with Nelson already owning an ‘A’ standard. If the final is a fast one (any time under 23.35s) then the quota should be filled.

Women’s 1500m

Final: 7.25pm Saturday 17th February (Local Time), A Standard: 4.08.10, Championship Best: Sarah Jamieson 4.05.52 (2006)

If you look at the winning times of the women’s 1500m at the National Championships over the past 20 years, you find that only four winners have broken through the 4.10.00 barrier. Last year they crawled around the track, with Hedi See eventually winning in 4.23.99 (defeating Zoe Buckman and Linden Hall).

This year could see the same tactic employed, although it will play into the hands of both Hall and Buckman (both with multiple ‘A’ standards). The third spot would then be up for grabs between the likes of See, Jenny Blundell and Georgia Griffith (if she decides to do the 800m/1500m double). Abigail Regan (4.13.92) is next in line, but coming from a long way back.

Blundell hasn’t recaptured her scintillating 2016 form (4.04.62 PB), so these trials are important for the 23 year-old as she moves into the prime of her career.

Women’s 3000m Steeplechase

Final: 2.32pm Sunday 18th February (Local Time), A Standard: 9.42.00, Championship Best: Donna MacFarlane 9.34.21 (2007)

This has turned into one of the top track events of the trials. This is due to the fact that, outside of Genevieve LaCaze, the event is wide open. Including LaCaze there are 6 women all running under 10.00.00, with Paige Campbell moving right into contention after a brilliant PB of 9.49.60 at the recent Hunter Track Classic in January.

Although the obvious selections would be LaCaze, Victoria Mitchell and Campbell, there are still Bri Ilarda, Stella Radford and Charlotte Wilson who will all think that they are in with a big chance of making the Australian team.

If any the above could produce the ‘A’ standard of 9.42.00 the they will surely be selected, but if this doesn’t eventuate then the final finishing order will ultimately dictate who makes it to the Gold Coast.

Women’s Heptathlon

Final: Thursday/Friday 15th/16th February, A Standard: 6,000 points, Championship Best: Glynis Nunn-Cearns 6,273pts (1984)

Personally I’m really looking forward to this tussle between our top heptathletes. The 7 events will ensure there are many twists and turns, but at the end of the day there could literally only be one winner.

Unless the winner can post an ‘A’ standard of 6,000pts, you would think that only one ‘B’ qualified athlete will be selected on the Australian team for this years Commonwealth Games.

It’s really an interesting mix of youth and experience – with 18 year-old Celeste Mucci taking on the likes of Alysha Burnett (21), Sophie Stanwell (26), Tori West (22) and Casidhe Simmons (23). All of the above athletes have achieved the ‘B’ standard of 5,600pts, so now it comes down to who can take the title this week.

Mucci always starts off exceptionally well in the 100m hurdles (13.46s PB), but can come back to the pack based on her performance in the high jump. This is where Burnett could place some real pressure on the rest of the field, with her PB of 1.86m (set at last years WUG) world class.

Stanwell then gets going at the end of day 1, capable of a solid shot put and then a world class 200m (sub 24sec). West will also finish off day 1 well, so the scores at the end of day 1 will be very interesting indeed.

The competition could then be run and won after the first event on day 2. The long jump is one of Mucci’s stronger events, capable of jumping well over 6.20m. This will see her breakaway from the pack, and if everything is going well will hopefully push her towards 5,900+pts. Burnett (silver medalist from last years WUG), is the obvious danger to Mucci, with her long jump also critical to a big overall score. If she was to also jump over 6.20m then the 800m would be one thrilling finale to two great days of competition!

Our Possible Australian Team for the 2018 Commonwealth Games

Note – *already confirmed as part of the final team

Event A/B Standards Position 1 Position 2 Position 3
100m 10.15/10.24 1. Rohan Browning 2. Jack Hale
200m 20.44/20.64 unlikely
400m 45.50/46.00 3. Steve Solomon
800m 1.46.50/1.47.40 4. Luke Mathews 5. Joshua Ralph 6. Jeff Riseley
1500m 3.37.50/3.40.80 7. Ryan Gregson Mathews 8. Jordan Williamsz
5000m 13.22.60/13.35.00 9. Patrick Tiernan 10. Morgan McDonald 11. Sam McEntee
10000m 27.54.00/28.31.20 Patrcik Tiernan* 12. Stewart McSweyn
Marathon 2.19.00.0 13. Michael Shelley* 14. Liam Adams* 15. Chris Hamer*
3000mSt 8.32.00/8.45.00 Stewart McSweyn
110mHurdles 13.56/13.71 16. Nicholas Hough
400mHurdles 49.35/49.98 17. Ian Dewhurst
High Jump 2.28/2.20 18. Brandon Starc
Pole Vault 5.60/5.25 19. Kurtis Marschall 20. Declan Carruthers 21. Angus Armstrong
Long Jump 8.09/7.82 22. Henry Frayne 23. Fabrice Lapierre 24. Chris Mitrevski
Triple Jump 16.69/16.25 25. Shemaiah James
Shot Put 20.00/18.10 26. Damien Birkinhead
Discus Throw 61.90/59.10 27. Benn Harradine 28. Matt Denny
Hammer Throw 72.70/65.30 Matt Denny 29. Huw Peacock
Javelin Throw 80.80/73.30 30. Hamish Peacock 31. Luke Cann
Decathlon 8000/7600 32. Cedric Dubler
20km Walk 1.24.00.0 33. Dane Bird-Smith 34. Rhydian Cowley 35. Michael Hosking
4x100 Additional 3 athletes (36-38)
4x400m Additional 4 athletes (39-42)
Event A/B Standards Position 1 Position 2 Position 3
100m 11.26/11.40 1. Melissa Breen
200m 23.10/23.40 2. Ella Nelson 3. Riley Day 4. Maddie Coates
400m 52.10/52.70 5. Morgan Mitchell 6. Anneliese Rubie 7. Bendere Oboya
800m 2.01.00/2.02.40 8. Georgia Griffith
1500m 4.08.10/4.10.90 9. Zoe Buckman 10. Linden Hall 11. Jenny Blundell
5000m 15.22.00/15.45.50 12. Madeline Hills 13. Eloise Wellings
10000m 32.15.00/33.13.80 14. Celia Sullohern* Eloise Wellings Madeline Hills
Marathon 2.45.00.0 15. Lisa Weightman* 16. Jess Trengove* 17. Virginia Moloney*
3000mSt 9.42.00/9.58.60 18. Genevieve LaCaze 19. Victoria Mitchell 20. Paige Campbell
100mHurdles 13.01/13.33 21. Sally Pearson 22. Michelle Jenneke 23. Brianna Beahan
400mHurdles 56.10/57.30 24. Lauren Wells
High Jump 1.92/1.85 25. Nicola McDermott
Pole Vault 4.50/4.25 26. Nina Kennedy 27. Liz Parnov
Long Jump 6.65/6.39 28. Brooke Stratton 29. Naa Anang
Triple Jump 13.90/13.45 unlikely
Shot Put 17.70/16.42 unlikely
Discus Throw 59.90/54.60 30. Dani Stevens 31. Taryn Gollshewsky
Hammer Throw 67.30/61.70 32. Alex Hulley 33. Lara Nielsen
Javelin Throw 60.60/54.42 34. Kathryn Mitchell 35. Kelsey-Lee Roberts
Heptathlon 6000/5600 36. Celeste Mucci
20km Walk 1.36.00.0 37. Regan Lamble 38. Jemima Montag 39. Claire Tallent
4x100 Additional 3 athletes (40-42)
4x400m Additional 3 athletes (43-45)

Additional athletes looking at pushing for final selection:

Women

100m Jessica Perris
200m Jessica Perris
800m Brittany McGowan
800m Abbey de la Motte
1500m/5000m Heidi See
5000m Emily Brichacek
5000m Melissa Duncan
High Jump Eleanor Patterson
Long Jump Chelsea Jaensch
Pole Vault Lisa Campbell
Discus Throw Kim Mulhall
Heptathlon Alysha Burnett
Heptathlon Sophie Stanwell
Heptathlon Tori West
Heptathlon Casidhe Simmons

Men

100m Josh Clarke
100m Trae Williams
200m Tom Gamble
1500m Jordan Gusman
5000m Brett Robinson
10000m David McNeill
3000mSt Max Stevens
3000mSt James Nipperess
High Jump Joel Baden
Discus Throw Mitch Cooper
Hammer Throw Jack Dalton
Javelin Throw William White
Javelin Throw Liam O’Brien
Javelin Throw Rhys Stein
Javelin Throw Cruz Hogan
Decathlon Kyle Cranston

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