Miller hopes 13 will be lucky
COAST water polo star Billy Miller has survived another cut to the national squad in the lead-up to the London Olympics in July.
Australian coach John Fox reduced the squad to 19 overnight after the successful Pan Pacific Championships, which ended in Melbourne on Saturday.
The Sharks took the silver medal after an extra-time 11-10 loss to the United States in the final.
The squad, which started at 27 three years ago, will be cut to 16 for the World League finals in Kazakhstan in June, then reduced again to 15 for pre-Olympic training in Europe in the lead-up to London.
The cruellest cut of all will be made on the eve of the Games, with two more players to be sent home.
Miller said while he was happy with his form in Melbourne, he wasn't prepared to speculate on his chances of wearing the green-and-gold in London.
"At this stage I couldn't put a percentage on my chances. There's a long way to go and injuries will play a part," he said.
"I think it will come down to versatility, and also how well you can defend."
On that front the 23-year-old stacks up better than most.
While he plays mainly as a driver, which primarily set up goal-scoring opportunities but also score themselves, Miller started his career as a centre back and defends strongly.
Back at work yesterday, he said he was looking forward to a solid national league season, which starts on January 26.
Miller has switched to the Brisbane Barracudas, after playing for the rival KFC Breakers last year.
"The Barracudas have got five other guys in the national squad, so we'll have a really good team," he said.
Australia was ranked nine in the world before the Pan Pacs, and that is unlikely to change despite the team drawing 6-all with the United States in the preliminary rounds and the close loss in the final.
Along the way the Aussies easily disposed of China, Japan and New Zealand.
Miller, who said he won't have many opportunities to get back home to the Coast before the Olympics, said he believed the Sharks could emerge as a medal chance in London.
"We've really tried to change the direction of the team, trying to be as professional as possible," he said.
"We want to give ourselves every chance of winning a medal in London, and I'll be jumping for joy if I'm part of the team."