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Aussies hungry for water polo finals

9 August 2016

WATER POLO: Australia’s men’s water polo side has kept its finals hopes alive after a gutsy 9-9 draw against powerhouse Hungary.

It was the return to form the Aussies were hoping for after a disappointing loss in the first match up against host Brazil.

Hungary, the most successful men’s water polo team in Olympic Games history, were always going to come out strong but it was Australia’s vice-captain Richie Campbell who got the Aussies on the board first with a goal in the opening two minutes.

Campbell led the team from the front with an impressive four goals, but he said it was an absolute team effort.

“I think that was up there with some of our best performances against Hungary at the Olympics,” Campbell said.

“It’s always good to come close to these guys because I think they’re one of the best teams in the world.

“It was extremely physical in there. There was a lot of grappling, a lot of wrestling, they were getting a bit feisty, we were getting a bit feisty.

“It was actually exhausting, so to come out with a draw when we were so buggered, I’m pretty stoked with that.

“We had to come into this game confident. We drew against Hungary a few weeks ago at a tournament in Budapest, so we had every confidence we could do well today.

 “It keeps us alive, anything can happen from now.

“We play Japan next, we get a win there and we could see a three or four-way tie in our pool draw.”

Australia’s return to form proved too strong for the Hungarians in defence, as well as making the most of the extra man in attack.

“I think extra man attack and defence makes or breaks games. If you have solid defence in extra man and you’re shutting them out it puts on a lot of mental pressure as well as the physical pressure.  It’s how you win games,” said Campbell.

While Australia was first to get on the scoreboard, Hungary led by one goal after the first two quarters, but the Aussies managed to put in a solid effort in the third quarter to pull ahead.

It all came down to the final quarter, when the Hungarians managed to pull ahead before, in the final 30 seconds, Johno Cotterill netted the Aussies’ final goal to level the score and put the Aussies in the hunt for a finals spot.

Australia will play Japan in their third pool game at 9:00am on Wednesday, 10 August. (22:00 AEST)

Match Statistics

Final score: AUS 9 HUN 9

Quarter scores (HUN-AUS) 4-3, 2-2, 1-3, 2-1

AUS Goal Scorers: Campbell (4) Kayes (1) Swift (1) Roach (1) Cotterill (1) Ford (1)

Lauren Ryan

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