The Australia Post Boomers will begin a 10 day training camp on the Gold Coast tomorrow without veteran big man Chris Anstey.
Anstey withdrew from the 18-man squad yesterday, saying he was incapable of meeting the high physical demands of a training camp, followed by an international tour and a three test series.
The Boomers are gearing up for the 2007 FIBA Oceania Men’s Championship against New Zealand on August 20, 22 and 24 in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane for the right to play in Beijing in 2008.
Last month the Boomers toured China and won a 4 Nations tournament against teams from Italy, Croatia and the host nation.
210cm South Dragons centre Matt Burston has been named as Anstey’s replacement.
“My knees were pretty ordinary last year and I had a neck injury as well and they’ve taken a good three months to rehab fully and in that time I could do next to nothing,” Anstey said.
“I left it to the last minute to try to do what I could but I didn’t have the time to get my body right.
“To be ready for an international tournament you have to be playing well.”
Boomers Head Coach Brian Goorjian, who has already had to cope with the withdrawal of stars CJ Bruton, Matthew Nielsen and Andrew Bogut due to injury, remains focused on the task at hand.
“I’m disappointed to lose another piece of the puzzle,” Goorjian said.
“New Zealand definitely has a few advantages over us that we’ll have to overcome to win this series.”
“They have their best players available and they’re all comfortable with each other and somehow we’ll have to combat that.
“I’m excited about the challenge and I’m excited that I know the guys who will be at the camp really want to be there.”