Water Polo thriller at Bondi
3 January 2014
WATER POLO: Australia's men's water polo team, the Aussies Sharks, have come from behind to score a thrilling 15-14 penalty shootout win over an International All-Stars outfit in the Water Polo By The Sea event at iconic Bondi Icebergs in Sydney.
In front of a bumper, celebrity packed crowd, the Sharks had to fight hard to claim their third victory in the three years the glamour game has been played.
With six Australian Olympians, Hungarian Olympic gold medallists Istvan Gergely and Tamas Marcz along with Brazilian star Felipe Perrone in the sun soaked pool the game was always set to be a wonderful spectacle – and so it was with a draw at full time and a stunning shootout to decide the winner.
The action began in a flurry of goals for the International All-Stars with a strike to Australia’s 2008 Olympian Anthony Martin and a pair for Kiwi-turned Aussie giant Joe Kayes firing the mixed team to a 3-0 lead within minutes.
In fact, it took almost six minutes before the Aussie Sharks troubled the scorer themselves, but two quick goals saw them trail 2-3 at the first break.
The second quarter followed a similar pattern and despite impressive extraman goals to Australian dual Olympians Richie Campbell and Rhys Howden, it was 6-4 to the All-Stars at halftime.
The Australians staged a spirited fight back in the third term, with goals to teen Lachlan Edwards and London Olympians Billy Miller and Johnno Cotterill bringing the score to a 7-7 deadlock - and ensuring a thrilling last quarter.
Both sides scored two goals in the final period – both of Australia’s to Younger, undoubtedly the player of the match, while Kayes blasted his fourth and Perrone his first for the All Stars, to leave the scores tied at 9-all and take the game to the penalty shootout.
In the first round of five penalties both sides scored four goals but after Younger and captain Howden converted on their second time through the rotation the pressure remained on the All Stars. When Serbian Milos Vukicevic had his shot brilliantly saved by Aussie goalkeeper John Hahn the match was over and victory went to the home side.
Younger, who was sensational at both ends of the pool for Australia, said it was amazing to play in front of such a heaving crowd.
“It’s great to see the big crowd and giving spectators, that might not normally get to see water polo, the chance to watch our sport,” the Western Australian said.
“I was happy with my form but it was a team effort. Until yesterday we hadn’t played together since last year’s world championships in Barcelona so it was good to jump in with the boys and have a shoot around.”
For the International All-Stars, who carried six centre-forwards in their extended 15-man squad, Kayes and goalkeeper Gergely were powerhouses.
The focus for the Aussie Sharks now turns towards Perth where they will take on Olympic champions Croatia on February 1.
Water Polo By The Sea is the concept of four-time Australian Olympian Thomas Whalan and is designed to showcase the physicality, ruggedness and sex appeal of the sport.
Water Polo By The Sea – Bondi Icebergs, Sydney
Result: Aussie Sharks 15 bt International All Stars 14 (9-9, 6-5)
Quarters: 2-3, 2-3, 3-1, 2-2 (6-5)
Scorers AUS: A Younger 5, R Howden 3, B Miller 2, J Cotterill 2, J Gilchrist, R Campbell, L Edwards
Scorers ALL STARS: J Kayes 4, F Perrone 3, A Martin 2, T Galic, S Avallone, G Enloe, M Nesic, T Marcz
Aussie Sharks: John Hahn, Richie Campbell, Lachlan Edwards, Johnno Cotterill, Nathan Power, Blake Edwards, Jarrod Gilchrist, Aaron Younger, Gordon Marshall, George Ford, Rhys Howden ©, Billy Miller
International All-Stars: Istvan Gergely, Milan Nesic, Tamas Marcz, Samuele Avallone, Joe Kayes, Anthony Martin, Matteo Sessantini, Teo Galic, Gregory Enloe, Felipe Perrone ©, Eric Marsal, David Lewis, Rok Crnica, Milos Vukicevic, Jeremy Davie
Water Polo Australia