Water Polo All Stars

2 April 2013

WATER POLO: Olympians have faced off in a series that showcases Australia's best water polo players before a crowd of aspiring young players.

Women's teams play for Cathy Parkes Trophy...

The All Stars South team has secured their second consecutive Cathy Parkes Trophy defeating the All Stars North side 6-5 in a brilliant exhibition of water polo at the Valley Pool in Brisbane.

The All-Star concept, which divides the 12 National League clubs into two divisions, sees the best players from the 2013 National Water Polo League season battle it out.

Playing in front of hundreds of aspiring 14 and under players, the All Stars South team came from one goal down with 6:25 left on the clock to land the killer blow.

Olympic bronze medallist Rowie Webster was instrumental in the fightback levelling the scores at 5-5 through an extra man goal, before London teammate Nicola Zagame sealed the contest with a blistering counter attack strike with 50 seconds remaining.

Webster said she was happy to get the win and labelled the second annual All Stars fixture as a fantastic promotion for the sport. "It's nice to get the win," Webster said.

"We had a bit of a slow start and allowed them to get ahead by three goals, but some solid defence and good execution of our shots helped us over the line.

"It's certainly a good way to showcase our sport especially in front of the up and coming Olympians of the future. So it was a pleasure to play in front of them and the packed stadium."

Winning coach Dalibor Maslan was full of praise for the girls and said it was great to see such a diverse mix of Olympians, imports and youngsters in the water.

"We had to play catch up the whole game and we didn't expect them to fire so early. Some of their younger girls really stepped with Olivia King playing very well to score three goals," Maslan said.

"But our Olympians played very well in the second half and the whole team did a brilliant job of shutting down Kami Craig. So we're happy to get the win in what was a very tough game."

North had earlier led three goals to nil courtesy of a first quarter double to KFC Queensland Breakers youngster Olivia King, before the South rattled off three consecutive penalties to get back in the contest.

Men's teams play for Andrew Kerr Cup...

The All Star North team has taken out the third annual Andrew Kerr Cup defeating the All Star South team 8-7 in an epic battle in front of a host of aspiring 14 and under players at the South Australian Aquatic and Leisure Centre on Sunday.

North captain and dual Olympian Richie Campbell was the hero netting a thunderous strike from five metres after drawing a foul from South's Matt Martin with 20 seconds remaining.

The winning goal sealed the North team's second straight win in the Andrew Kerr Cup after claiming a 9-5 victory last year. Campbell was ecstatic to seal the victory and said it was the perfect way to end the camp after a tough week with new coach Elvis Fatovic.

"It was really relieving to win after the week we've had. We had to change our style a bit with BJ Howden out ill but we seemed to do ok," Campbell said.

"Elvis' influence on our game play over the last few days definitely showed and I think it made for a better All Stars game quality wise.

"I think the All Stars is a great exhibition game and we should continue it in the future. It shows the fantastic talent we have in the pool and hopefully it will encourage the kids to keep playing the sport."

Winning North coach Chris Wybrow praised his boys for their determination and echoed his skipper's thoughts acknowledging that it had been a tough week in the water.

"It was high quality. All the boys were pretty fatigued. It's been a tough training camp and a lot different from what we are use to, so the boys showed a lot of heart to play at a high standard,” Wybrow said.

"Elvis was extremely happy with the attitude of the players. He said they were very professional and was very happy with how they performed.”

The first quarter was evenly matched with the North and South teams happy to ease into the contest. London Olympian Billy Miller netted the first of the game through an expertly taken penalty, before Great Britain import Scott Carpenter equalised off a counter attack to make it 1-1.

A deep foul and cross pass from Jarrod Gilchrist to James Woods saw the South team edge ahead 2-1, only for Nathan Power to level things at quarter time with a quality backhander.

Power and Hunter teammate Gordon Marshall were able to cause more havoc early in the second with Marshall earning a penalty, but Miller’s attempt was saved by South keeper Ed Slade to keep things locked at 2-2.

The two teams continued to trade goals with Carpenter and Miller slotting again, before George Ford converted from another Gilchrist assist to make it 4-3. Miller then landed his third to restore the deadlock, only for Martin to hit the woodwork and Rhys Howden to miss a penalty to leave it at 4-4.

South took the initiative early in the third through an extra-man goal to Martin and they were able to hold that lead until Dan Young scored on the counter with 2:11 left on the clock. Both teams had a handful of chances to add to their tally but keepers Carl Zvekan and John Hahn held firm.

In the decider, South again bounded clear with Joel Swift netting off another Gilchrist assist, only for North to reply immediately through a penalty to Campbell.

Drummoyne’s Mitch Emery then scored his first of the game to put North ahead 7-6, and when Swift equalised at 7-7 at 3:19 the game was destined for penalties, but Campbell rose to the occasion to power home the winner.

Losing captain Daniel Lawrence was disappointed with the overall outcome but said the boys put in a strong effort and was happy to be involved in such a great contest.

“It was a tight game. A few decisions didn’t go our way in the third and fourth quarter but to their credit the boys stuck it out and unfortunately we missed a few shots in the last quarter which would have changed the game but that’s how it goes,” Lawrence said.

Aussie Sharks coach Elvis Fatovic was very excited by the standard of play and said the whole week had been a great experience, particularly the interaction with the 14 and under athletes who were also competing in Adelaide.

“The guys were tired because they worked really hardy and that is the best news because they played a really tight game and in the final 20 seconds Richie scored the winner so I’m very satisfied with the quality and application of the players,” Fatovic said.

“This is a great idea and I think in the future we will do the same thing and it was great for the 14’s players to meet the Aussie Sharks.”

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