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Aussie Sharks make history with silver at 2018 World Cup

17 September 2018

WATERPOLO: The Australian Men’s Water Polo team overnight claimed silver at the FINA World Cup Final after going down to Hungary 4-10 in the final.

While the final result did not go their way, they will enter the history books having earned Australia’s best ever result for the men’s water polo team at a FINA World Cup.

The World Cup campaign was one of the Aussie Sharks strongest in recent years, signalling positive signs in the build up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

As part of the tournament, the new rules which will be used at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics were tested, that included a reduced bench with teams playing with 11 rather than 13 players.

Head Coach Elvis Fatovic said this result has been a long time coming for the Aussie Sharks and he was proud of what his team had achieved.

“This has definitely been a great week for all of us…. the boys really played well. Six games in six days was very demanding and for our draw, we didn’t have one easy game,” Fatovic said.

“At an Olympics or World Championships you would normally have a day off after each game… so to play six in a row is a big challenge and we did well.

“In the last five or six years we had a lot of frustrations where we have lost a game by one or two goals, but then we haven’t done well to back up.

“This time we managed to bounce back after a one goal loss and even after very tough, physical game, we managed to bounce back well and I think believe that made the difference.

“Today we started well and it looked like at half time we could match them. But we just didn’t have enough power and that’s due to the tough games we played earlier.

“This was the biggest game on our calendar this year and hopefully this puts us in a good place to build on for the World Championships next year and the Olympics in two years,” he said.

Aussie Sharks Captain Aaron Younger, led his side from in front throughout the tournament and was awarded the FINA World Cup ‘Best Player of the Tournament’ award. He said the team gave it everything they had.

“I’m completely proud of how they’ve played in every game. We set this tournament as our benchmark event, so to walk away with the silver medal is great,” Younger said.

“The work that boys have put together over the last months and even years, has been huge.

“We are one of the only nations in the top five that is an amateur side with most our guys holding down full time jobs and study while training to compete against the best in the world.

“I think tonight’s result came down to complete exhaustion, both emotionally and physically. We had to short time to back up today after the penalty shoot out against Germany plus we had a big quarter final against Croatia.

“This is a great stepping stone for us towards Tokyo and a good push for next year for World Championships,” he said.

The Aussies came into the final with a short turn around after a gruelling match against host Germany the night before where they were forced into a penalty shoot out.

Hungary dominated throughout the tournament and the final was no exception, putting pressure on the Aussies in their attack with G.Kardos in goals.

The opening quarter proved to be a tight contest. While a nice goal from Joe Kayes kicked off the scoring, two goals from Hungary before the end of the quarter including a penalty goal, saw the Aussies trailing 1-2 at the end of the period.

It was well into the second quarter before any more points were added to the board and it was Australia again first to strike this time courtesy of Nathan Power. But with two more goals from the Hungarians, they extended their lead at half time to 2-4.

The third quarter is where Hungary really showed their dominance, scoring from all angles to put a further four goals on the board while keeping Australia scoreless to lead 2-8.

Aaron Younger came out strong in the fourth quarter to get the first goal on the board in extra man. But Hungary were quick to respond with two more goals.

It was young gun Andrew Ford who put the final goal on the board to finish the game 4-10 for the Aussies.

Lauren Ryan
Water Polo Australia

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