Water Polo Australia brings news of a big day at Sydney Olympic Park. OVO Australian Waterpolo League Finals Series starts with Fremantle Men’s and Women’s together with ACU Cronulla Sharks (men) and Sydney University Lions (women) qualifying through to tomorrow’s semifinals.
Furthermore, Water Polo Australia brings reports:
The day got underway in spectacular fashion with a closely fought battle between Perth’s Fremantle Mariners and locals Drummoyne Devils. There was never more than a two-goal difference between the teams, but the Mariners managed to edge out the Devils to book their spot in tomorrow’s semi-final, with an 8-6 victory.
Co-Captain, Joel Swift said his team knew heading into the match it was going to be a close one but the key was sticking to their game plan.
“Just play our game, we’re pretty confident in our style and we’ve got the firepower to get us across the line. It’s all about defense and the goals will come. We knew it was going to be pretty tough. We match up well with Drummoyne, they play a pretty deep zone.
Playing on Tyler (Martin), who was my old teammate in Hungary, so we know each other pretty well, it was always going to be tough. It’s been great to have Luke Pacillard back, he’s been in America for a couple of years and Ed Slade played really good as well,” he said.
A slow start to the match by Marlins against Sharks in a sixth versus third elimination final could have been put down to nerves for the Marlins side when they trailed by two at halftime. Marlins clawed their way back into the match and like their male counterparts claimed victory for their team 5-4, making it a Fremantle double in the first two matches of the day.
Marlins’ captain Erin Redbond put their win, which was arguably the upset of the day, down to the team bond they all share.
“Outside of the pool, we’re very close friends and we’ve bonded for years and years, so that is an advantage for us and at the end of the day, I think that got us over the line. As always, our goalie Lilian Hedges played amazing, Chloe Nella scored two cracking goals and that last pass from Zoe (Arancini) to Lara (Zimmerman) saved us the game.
It always helps when the boys do well, their confidence gives us confidence. We’ve both come away with the win so hopefully we can do the same tomorrow,” she said.
The third game of the day was a much-anticipated matchup between cross-town rivals ACU Cronulla Sharks and 2017 defending champions UNSW Wests Magpies. In a physical match which never had much in it, two clutch goals to Aidan Roach early in the last quarter gave Sharks the breathing space they needed to close the match out, 9-7.
Sharks captain Patrick Falson spoke about the closeness of the match and the Sharks motivation to win their day one finals match.
“It was a tough slog but it always is against Wests, we were looking forward to it after semis last year and I’m just glad we got the win over them in the end. AJ (Aidan Roach) scored those two goals and that’s what he’s there for, he has a wealth of experience, and after we lost Joe (Kayes) the boys stepped up and we got there in the end.”
Looking to tomorrow Falson will be keeping his message to the Sharks fairly simple before they take on the undefeated Sydney University Lions team.
“We’re good mates with the uni boys but they’re old rivals. I will say something like have fun, give it to them, make sure they know we’re marking them and just rip in,” he said.
While the Lions maintained a steady lead through the majority of the match, Breakers fought hard until the end and late in the last quarter trailed by one. It was a testament to Breakers who played well throughout the match with only 10 women on their list due to injury and personal commitments.
Lions captain Keesja Gofers and her team enjoyed a great combination of experience and youth to secure the win against a defiant Breakers, 10-8.
“The match was a grind and the Breakers kept coming back which made it an entertaining game. In the last quarter they had got a run on but in the water, I was telling the other girls to just control the ball, use our time, not play the half chance options and knuckling down on their key players in defense.
Our juniors impress me day in, day out and I know they’re going to do the same thing tomorrow,” she said.