Experienced Australian bowler Nathan Rice has spoken of the sacrifice required in securing his third Commonwealth Games berth.
The 38-year-old feels as though he is at the top of his game following a big 2017, in which he has made it to as many greens as possible in order to give him the best chance at selection.
“It was definitely a bit of relief and excitement,” he said following the announcement of the squad for Gold Coast 2018.
“I’ve put a lot of work in over the past eight months. I’ve hardly been home which is obviously hard on the family but I just had to do it to give myself the best opportunity to play.
“It’s definitely paid off. I feel like I’m playing as well as I ever have.”
Rice joins Karen Murphy and Barrie Lester as the only squad members to have tasted a home Games back in Melbourne in 2006.
The Games were Australia’s most successful in history and Rice says the crowd will have a big part to play at Broadbeach in April.
“Having your home crowd, it just gives that extra boost. It showed in Melbourne with the results that we had,” he said.
“There’s no better feeling. It was so good in Melbourne. I just can’t wait to see what it’ll be like in Gold Coast.”
With Gold Coast looming as Australia’s best chance to multiple gold medals since Melbourne, Rice says the closeness and familiarity of the squad will come to the fore in the crucial moments.
“We’re great mates off the green too which definitely helps when you’re going through hard times,” he said.
“We’ve got a good team. Obviously we don’t know our lineups yet but it doesn’t matter too much. Everyone will do their job.”