Tessa Lavey and Nat Burton Are Off To Rio!

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Tessa Lavey and Natalie Burton are going to Rio!

The Perth Lynx stars received their tickets at a special announcement on the Gold Coast on Tuesday morning.

The pair will be part of an Australian Opals team that will head to the Olympic games as second favourites for the gold medal, only behind the USA.

Both players will be making their Olympic debut.

“I think I was in shock when I found out I’d made the team,” said Lynx captain Tessa Lavey.

“I’m so proud to be going and to be part of this team. We’ve got an incredible group of ladies and you never know what can happen in Rio. I’m just so excited.

“It still hasn’t sunk in.”

The inclusion of Marianna Tolo, Katie-Rae Ebzery, Leilani Mitchell, Stephanie Talbot and Cayla George makes it a total of seven Olympic debutants in the Opals team.

Laura Hodges, Elizabeth Cambage and Rachel Jarry return from the London 2012 team that won bronze while Erin Phillips and Penny Taylor will make their return to Olympic competition.

“We’ve made a conscious effort to develop our depth, which is something the girls are aware of, it’s not just about short term success it’s long term success as well” said coach Brendan Joyce.

“These 12 ladies are amazing.  I’ve been working with them for over three years now and the commitment is amazing. One thing I’ve learnt from coaching is that if people aren’t committed, you aren’t going to be successful.

“These ladies are invested, and they’re going to do us proud.”

Australia will play their first match against Brazil on Day 1 of the Games (August 6).

They then take on Turkey on Day 2 (August 7), France on Day 4 (August 9), Japan on Day 6 (August 11) before rounding out the group stage against Belarus on Day 8 (August 13).

They will need to finish in the top four in the group to progress in the quarter-finals.

Australia have won five consecutive medals in Olympic competition with bronze in Atlanta 1996 followed by three straight silver medals in Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.

They lost to the USA in the semi-finals of the London 2012 Games before defeating Russia to claim the bronze medal.

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