Powerful Ash Southern made her second Olympic appearance at the Rio 2016 Games, proving to be an important part of the Australian offensive, scoring a total of 10 goals.
The Aussies kicked started their Rio campaign with a strong, dominant 14-4 win over Russia which included four from Southern. Their second pool match proved to be more of a challenge with the green and gold side narrowly going down to Italy 7-8 despite the scores being tied until the final seconds.
The Aussies then powered home to take a decisive 10-3 win over hosts Brazil in the final pool game, setting up a quarter final clash against Hungary. In a physical, tense and ultimately heartbreaking encounter the Australians lost in a penalty shootout after scores were level, 8-8, after four quarters, ending their 2016 Olympic campaign.
Born and raised in North Queensland, Ashleigh Southern began playing water polo in a local dam. She made her national debut in 2010 at the Longmont tournament in Sydney and immediately impressed, scoring a remarkable eight goals in a 10-8 victory over the USA.
Southern’s scoring prowess helped Australia claim silver at the 2010 World Cup and bronze at the 2011 World League Super Finals and by 2012 she was playing in every major tournament.
Southern made her Olympic debut at the London 2012 Games and was the youngest member of the women’s water polo team at 19. She helped Australia claim the bronze medal in a nail biting 13-11 victory over Hungary. She hopes to better her third place standings at her second Games in Rio.
In 2015 Southern spent a season in Europe playing for the Greek club Olympiacos, winning the final of the 2015 LEN Euroleague.
Fellow Stinger teammate Holly Lincoln-Smith is one of Southern’s most influential role models, and she attributes her sporting success partly to Holly’s training and guidance.