Aaron Younger has won a lot of trophies in Budapest this season. After conquering the Hungarian Cup, League and LEN Champions League with Szolnoki Vízilabda SC, he will try to do the same with his Australian teammates in the upcoming World Championship. He shared his expectations with Total Waterpolo.
Can you describe your team’s performance in World League Super Final?
The team that played in the World League finals was completely new, I met most these players for the first time the week before the tournament so we didn’t have such big expectations for the tournament.
We planned to use this tournament and games for preparation towards Budapest. So this was our first tournament together but in saying that the results we achieved were not good enough, we made too many mistakes and didn’t work well together when we needed to in the games we should win.
Although the results were not good I think this tournament was great for us to learn and work out exactly what needs to improve as a team before we head to Budapest.
What segments of the game do you need to improve before the Championship?
We need to improve in everything. As I said, this is a new team, so we need to work on defence, attack and extra man, every area needs some work. In saying this working towards Budapest we will have a main focus on defence and trying to keep the other teams to the lowest score possible and not let the games become a shooting contest.
Australia is opening the tournament against Hungary. Can you surprise them?
Hungary at home is always hard and they will be strong favorites. Our biggest advantage will be the large pressure they are under at home and for the first game. We will be relaxed and ready to play, as we have seen in the last couple of years in water polo surprises are common now, so we will see.
You are in the toughest group. What can we expect from Australia in this tournament?
My expectations are for the top 8. In my opinion, our group is not so bad, there will be some tough games but when it comes to the crossovers I think we have an advantage. We will take the tournament game by game and see what happens. At the end of the day we want to be in the top 8 and then anything can happen from there.
In your opinion, how can you put an end to Serbian domination?
There is no easy answer for this, Serbia is now dominating water polo because of what happened a long time ago when Filipović, Pjetlović and all these great players were young, they had and have an incredible school for development and creating players.
Creating a team isn’t a quick thing. Countries and clubs need to invest time into developing these players from a young age all the way into their professional and adult careers. The Serbians have an incredible school of water polo and system of coaches that has been able to create these amazing players and this team they have now. For teams to get up to Serbia’s level I think it needs to start from a junior level in which the development of players is improved. But realistically there is no simple answer for this, but it is a question we are trying to solve in Australia also!