Australian Jackaroos vice-captain Brett Wilkie has declared Gold Coast 2018 as Australia’s best chance at bowls gold medals since the Melbourne Games in 2006.
The 43-year-old, along with Barrie Lester (35), Karen Murphy (42) and Nathan Rice (38) lead the contingent of senior squad members set to take up a prominent mentoring role as Australia build toward the Games with a number of team camps between now and April.
Wilkie pointed to the squad’s chemistry and experience as key drivers in their quest for gold on home soil.
“I think it’s our best chance at winning gold medals since Melbourne,” he said.
“In Delhi and Glasgow we were on surfaces and in conditions that were a little bit foreign to us and not used to playing on regularly.
“It’s a good rapport within the team… I think that’s definitely one of our strengths.
“All the team have had a lot of experience playing with each other in many events, whether it be for Australia or other tournaments.”
On a personal note, Gold Coast will be Wilkie’s third Games after collecting silver in Delhi and bronze in Glasgow, with that elusive gold medal still very much the core focus.
“[It’s] always a great honour and a thrill to be selected for Australia but I think it’s even more exciting this time being able to play in front of our home crowd on the Gold Coast,” he said.
“I’ll be looking to share my experiences and things like that. It is a pretty experienced team. Aaron Wilson and Rebecca van Asch are the only ones who haven’t been to a Commonwealth Games before but they’re also very experienced in other competitions in their own right.
“Looking forward to working hard in the lead-up to give us the best chance at winning that elusive gold medal.”