UWA City Beach Bears were today crowned the 16&U Boys National Champions for 2017 after defeating UNSW West Magpies Black 7-5, in a close contest for the gold medal.
After UNSW dominated early to have a narrow 4-2 lead at half time, it was all UWA in the second half to steam home with a solid victory.
UWA Captain, Byron Kelly, said his team did well to come back after trailing at half time.
“It’s an amazing feeling, it shows our training paid off and it feels well deserved,” said Kelly.
“Kovo’s (Head Coach, Andrei Kovalenko) advice was just come in and play water polo, relax, trust our training and it will pay off, which it did.
“They (UNSW) put up a good fight, they are tough… we enjoyed that game.
“Now we are going to train for the U18s, get straight back in to it and see how we go in that competition,” he said.
It was the redemption UWA City Beach Bears were looking for, after walking away with silver in 2016 going down to Melbourne Collegian.
UNSW Magpies Black took home the silver medal this year with Sydney Uni Blue taking the bronze medal.
Today’s finals wrapped up five days of quality juniors’ competition at Sydney Olympic Aquatic Centre, with more than 400 competitors from 31 Clubs battling it out.
Water Polo Australia CEO Christian Renford, said it was great to see so many young water polo players, from across of Australia, coming together.
“Our National Championships are a time honoured tradition that Clubs work really hard for every year.
“It was good to see more than 30 Clubs participating and a strong Club rivalry and team spirit on display.
“A lot of hard work that goes into preparing for a National Championships and all players, coaches, support staff and families should be proud of their team’s great effort,” he said.
Water Polo Australia Born 2001/2002 Coach & QAS Men’s Coach, Dmitry Gorshkov, was on hand throughout the Tournament and liked what he saw.
“There are definitely boys here who are working hard and in the next three, four years will be looking for senior (Australian) team positions.
For Gorshkov, he is already looking toward the FINA Junior World Championships in 2021.
“This age group will have in 2021 they will have the World Championships that we are trying to prepare them for. There is a huge group that we have to select from and it certainly won’t be an easy choice,” he said.
All eyes now turn to Hobart where the 16&U Girls National Club Championships are being held.
For all the results from today and the whole Tournament, visit the Match Centre – click here.
Top 10 Standings
- UWA City Beach Bears
- UNSW West Magpies Black
- Sydney University Blue
- Sunshine Coast
- Hunter Hurricanes
- Melbourne Collegians
- Melville Sharks
- ACT Fins
- UWA City Beach Blues
MVP of the Tournament – Samuel Rowbottam (UWA City Beach Bears)
Best Goalkeeper – Max Lowe (Melbourne Collegians)
Referee Encouragement Award – Nic McMahon
Think.Act.Play Medal – Bronwyn Knox (Queensland Country)