Day 2 of the OVO AWL Finals Series was filled with intense action. Water Polo Australia reports that UNSW Wests Killer Whales and Sydney Uni Lions (Women) and Fremantle Mariners and Sydney University Lions (Men) have booked their spot in tomorrow’s gold medal playoff for the 2018 OVO Australian Waterpolo League.
Minor Premiers UNSW West Killer Whales have made Club history to secure their first ever Australian Waterpolo League final. A closely fought battle between Perth’s Fremantle Marlins delivered a low scoring match with a final scoreline of 5-3.
“This is amazing, I can’t believe it. To never make finals before and to now go through to the Grand Final is just incredible.”
UNSW West Killer Whales Co-Captain, Daisy Carter, couldn’t contain her excitement post-match.
“We have so many people supporting us and so many people who wanted to be in this position and never got the chance. So we’re doing it for us and for them as well. They (Fremantle) played really good defense but so did we and that’s what it comes down to. We just happened to put goals in the back of the net – we had a lot of opportunity in the attack and we slowly chipped away.
“We just need to keep going with what we’re doing. There are a few minor things and we just need to bring the same energy we did today,” she said.
Defending Women’s champions Sydney Uni Lions will have the chance to defend their title after taking a narrow 8-7 win over Drummoyne Devils.
The Lions came out strong and managed to take a small lead during the first half to lead 5-2 at halftime. They made their move in the third quarter to push the lead out to 8-3 and looked to have the game all done and dusted but Drummoyne wasn’t going down without a fight.
Devils fought back and were within a goal and in the dying seconds of the game were in a position to make it a deadlock. But Sydney Uni Lions managed to hold on and Captain Keesja Gofers said the team was thrilled to walk away with the win.
“Devils have a lot of good firepower at the back of the perimeter and they also have some super strong center-forwards. It’s always a good contest Sydney Uni verse Drummoyne, they are always ready to give it to us.
“We’ve played two tough games, but to be honest I think the first game helped us in terms of starting this game nice and hard. To have that game experience in the finals helped us to start to well,” said Gofers.
The Lions will take on 2018 OVO AWL minor premiers the Killer Whales, who will be looking to carry the momentum through to their first grand final match.
“They finished first this season, they are a side that has a lot of strength across the field. But we just need to play our tactics, play along, controlled game.”
The Lions undefeated record remains intact after squaring off against arch-rivals ACU Cronulla Sharks. In a match where the Lions were never behind on the scoreboard, their powerful attack and stifling defense combined to win them the match 10-8.
Lions vice-captain Scott Nicholson knows the job is not done yet and says the team is very hungry to win tomorrow.
“This is our third grand final in four years, we need to stay calm and composed and finish the job this year, we’re are all hungry for the trophy. Today Goran stepped up as always at center-forward, Ben Stevenson also scored a fantastic goal that opened the game up for us.
Cronulla put up a fantastic fight they are a great team and they will be tough to beat in future years. We do a lot of training sessions together with the Sharks and we know each other pretty well so it got feisty in there. The difference today I think was that we ran a bit deeper on the bench.
“Fremantle is a big team and tough to play against, tomorrow we need to control the controllable and be in the moment,” he said.
The team from the West overcame a slow start to their match against the Hunter Hurricanes who placed second at the end of the regular season and claimed an impressive 9-6 victory. Hurricanes scored quickly in the opening stages and maintained a lead until halftime.
Mariners were true to form and began to step it up in defense and attack during the second half. A six-goal turn around from the Mariners meant they went into the third quarter break leading for the first time in the match 6-4. Mariners captain Joel Swift put it down to the confidence the players and their coaching staff have in one another.
“We’ve got a lot of belief and it really shows when we play, we’ve started some quarters pretty bad throughout the year and we’ve managed to come through as the game went on. Our team is a mix of older guys like Tim (Neesham), middle-aged guys like me and young guys like Elph (Nick Elphick), but everybody is ready to contribute to our team.
The game today was what I expected, they have a few big blokes like we do and when they get together it turns into a bit of a wrestle. It’s been a few years and I’m sick of the older boys saying we haven’t won one for a while so it would be great to win another one.
I will tell the guys to go out like we normally do, prepare like any other game, there is no need to change anything it is still four quarters, eight minutes a quarter,” he said.