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Aussies top all-stars in crazy conditions

10 March 2017

WATER POLO: A host of Australian Olympians have taken down a star studded international lineup at the 2017 edition of Water Polo by the Sea.

Played at Bondi Icebergs with a spectacular backdrop, the packed house was treated to not only to some of the best water polo players in the world, but also unique conditions that may never be seen again in the sport.

A non-stop barrage of ocean waves broke into the pool throughout the match to ensure choppy conditions added an extra element of intrigue to the clash.

Featuring the likes of three-time Olympians Rhys Howden and Richie Campbell along with dual Olympians Joel Dennerley and Johnno Cotterill, the Aussie side took a 7-6 lead into halftime before holding on to score a 16-15 victory.

“It was pretty fun,” Howden said.

“It was literally like putting the goals out in the ocean and playing out there.

“It was great to get up against the all-stars. They brought out some superstars and it was great to challenge ourselves against them.

“It was a fantastic event again and we look forward to next year.”

Dennerley had a harder task than most, trying to save goals as the waves came crashing over the pool; but he was just happy to be back alongside many of his Rio teammates.

“We love playing together as a national team,” Dennerley said.

“It was a good chance for us to come together after a little break following Rio so we had plenty of fun today.”

The Aussie side was challenged throughout the match but eventually got the win against a team that included a host of global stars including Rio gold medallists Filip Filipovic and Dusko Pljetlovic of Serbia, four-time Olympian Willy Molina of Spain and London 2012 Italian silver medallist Maurizio Felugo.

“Those guys are in the middle of their seasons over in Europe so to have them come out and have an exhibition match like they did today for the young kids to see was great,” added Dennerley.

“To play against those world class players in Australia was a great experience.”

The Australian men’s team now turn their attention to the World League Finals before the World Championships later in 2017.  

Matt Bartolo

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