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Aussies stun Croatia for World Student Games gold

13 July 2009

Australia struck gold in the men’s water polo competition at the World Student Games in Belgrade Sunday, beating Croatia 6-4 in the final.

It was the first time that an Australian men’s team had stood atop the podium, ranking better that a FINA World Cup bronze, two FINA World League bronze medals and a junior men’s silver medal.

Australia previously won a bronze medal at these championships in 1995, when current coach Paul Oberman was a playing member.

The Aussies, many of whom will now come under close scrutiny for naming to next week’s FINA World Championships in Rome, Italy, had to come from two goals down in the first quarter to keep their unblemished record at the championships.

For once it’s not a European team dominating a major men’s tournament with the world powerhouses of the sport left to scramble for the minor rankings.

Oberman was ecstatic with the result: "The gold medal was there for the taking and even when we were two goals down, the team was determined to win in style.

"This historic victory in teh cradle of world water polo supremacy shows that Australian men can match it with our women who constantly win medals."

The low-fouling game meant Australia managed just two from five conversions on the extra-man attack while Croatia missed their sole chance. Goalkeeper Luke Quinlivan was sublime with a fantastic 17 saves.

Australia won its group in the 16-nation event, beating Canada 20-0, Montenegro 16-6 and Greece 7-5.

In the quarter-finals, Australia displaced the United States of America 8-4 and went on to defeat eventual bronze medallist Serbia 7-6 in the semifinals.

Team: Goalkeepers: John Hahn (NSW); Luke Quinlivan (WA). Field players: Anthony Martin, Rob Maitland (Captain), Billy Miller (QLD); Richie Campbell, Steve Cody, Johnno Cotterill, Aidan Roach (NSW); Jarrod Gilchrist (VIC); Nicholas O’Halloran, Joel Swift, Aaron Younger (WA). Head coach: Paul Oberman. Manager: Jon Sieben

Australian Water Polo

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