The Men’s Born 1998 team have arrived back on home soil after finishing eighth in a successful Youth World Championships.
In the final match of the tournament the Aussies had a hot start but were overrun late to lose by a solitary goal.
It was unfortunate after brilliant early results left the team on top of their pool and automatic qualifiers for the quarter final. Australian Head Coach Andrei Kovalenko believes there are many positives to take from the performance.
“We stuck to the game plan and gave ourselves the best opportunity to win the game, the team will be better for the experience,” said Kovalenko.
The team embarked on their European tour hoping to be competitive and show the rest of the world their development in and out of the water. There were able to demonstrate that throughout the tournament, especially in the final game.
“When we play to our plan and work hard we are as competitive as any team here in the top eight,” Kovalenko said.
The top eight finish is a fantastic result for Youth Water Polo in Australia with the boys showing they have what it takes to continue their improvement and challenge the best in the world.
RUSSIA 9 AUSTRALIA 8
AUSTRALIA: Damian Williams, Christian Kyriakau (1), Charles Negus, Nicholas Elphick, Timothy Putt, Lachlan Voss (3), Lucas Mackaway (4), Chaz Poot, Jed Thompson, Jack Marshall, Nicholas Porter.
Quarters: 0-3, 3-5, 2-0, 4-0
2 September, Podgorica, Montenegro: The Aussie’s have gone down to a tough Greek team, and they struggled to lift themselves after the disappointing loss to Croatia in the Quarter Final.
Greece came out firing but a strong fight back from the Aussie’s left the final score at 13-9.
“This was a very difficult game for the boys after the great effort against Croatia, It is a valuable lesson which we can learn from,” Head Coach Kovalenko said after the game.
“We got off to a poor start and then only seemed to wake up to the task in the second half.”
The loss puts the team into the seventh place playoff against Russia tomorrow September 3.
GREECE 13 AUSTRALIA 9
AUSTRALIA: Damian Williams, Keenan Marsden (3), Charles Negus, Nicholas Elphick (2), Timothy Putt (1), Lachlan Voss (3), Sam Nangle, Chaz Poot (2), Jed Thompson (1), Jack Marshall, Nicholas Porter.
Quarters: 6-1, 2-1, 2-5, 3-2
1 September, Podgorica, Montenegro: Australia’s Born 1998 team have gone down in a heartbreaking one goal loss to tournament heavyweights Croatia.
Croatia had heavily beaten the Aussie side 23-14 in a pre tournament practice game, but the team stepped up and showed their true colours in the defeat.
A proud coach Kovalenko reflected on the loss, “They gave it their all, it was very disappointing to be so close to such a powerful water polo nation, we have certainly earnt the respect of many teams in these championships.”
The close loss reflected how far the team had come in such a short space of time.
“This is one of the heaviest teams at the championships, as a team we stuck to the game plan and it our all,” said Kovalenko.
“We now need to lift ourselves for the game against Greece as we chase the best result possible, with more tournament play we have a chance to learn the incremental skills that would have seen us win today.”
Australia face Greece in the 5th-8th place playoff early tomorrow September 2.
CROATIA 14 AUSTRALIA 13
AUSTRALIA: Damian Williams, Sam Nangle (2), Charles Negus, Nicholas Elphick (5), Timothy Putt, Lachlan Voss (1), Lucas Mackaway, Chaz Poot (3), Jed Thompson (2), Christian Kyriakau, Nicholas Porter.
Quarters: 6-4, 1-3, 4-5, 3-1
30 August, Podgorica, Montenegro: In the final pool game of the Youth World Championships the Australian team have defeated South Africa 15-9.
It was not one of the team’s best performances in the competition, but secured their place atop group C.
“The team did not play with anywhere near the conviction of the earlier games, maybe it was that we had qualified but South Africa came to play,” coach Kovalenko said.
“They (South Africa) were physical and wanted their last game to be a good one, they kept the game locked in an even struggle until half time.”
The great second half effort saw the boys secure the perfect position for Thursday’s Quarter Final.
“It was great we have finished top of our group and this should be recognised as we will finish in the top eight.”
Croatia will play Canada to decide who will play the born 1998 team in the Quarter Final on September 1.
AUSTRALIA 15 SOUTH AFRICA 9
AUSTRALIA: Damian Williams, Keenan Marsden (3), Charles Negus (2), Sam Nangle (1) Timothy Putt (2), Lachlan Voss (1), Lucas Mackaway (1), Chaz Poot (1), Jed Thompson (2), Jack Marshall (2), Nicholas Porter.
Quarters: 3-2, 3-4, 5-1, 4-2
29 August, Podgorica, Montenegro: The Australian Born 1998 team have come away with another victory in their third group game.
After as strong showing in their first two games they continued their good form in defeating Egypt 15 – 6.
Head coach Andrei Kovalenko commented on his surprise at the way the game panned out for his team.
“It was a very scrappy game as the style of refereeing suited the heavier play the Egyptians brought. We had a lot of turnover ball and couldn’t break free until the second quarter.” Kovalenko said.
“We rested some players due to the size of the opposition, and I was pleased with many solid individual performances.”
Australia’s last group game is against South Africa on August 30. South Africa are without a win in their first two championship matches.
AUSTRALIA 15 EGYPT 6
AUSTRALIA: Damian Williams, Sam Nangle (4), Charles Negus (1), Nicholas Elphick (1) Timothy Putt (1), Lachlan Voss (3), Lucas Mackaway, Chaz Poot (2), Christian Kyriakau (2), Jack Marshall (1), Nicholas Porter.
Quarters: 3-1, 3-3, 5-1, 4-1
28 August, Podgorica, Montenegro: Australia has defeated Japan in a tight tussle 14-13.
The Japanese team used their unorthodox style to put off the Aussie’s, but the team defence held strong to secure the victory.
Whilst this style was not unexpected, the boys were able to prove their consistency to their coach.
“This game was possibly more important that the first game, though we trained in our off day it is not the same intensity as gameplay and we needed to keep our focus,” Kovalenko said.
“Their unorthodox style has put off a couple of teams including Spain, but the boys reverted to what they knew and were comfortable with.”
Despite the victory the game did not go to plan for the young Australian’s.
“Out third quarter was the only quarter where we kept to the game plan and it was the only quarter where we didn’t give up easy ball in attack,” said Kovalenko.
“Hopefully the boys can take this form and the tactics we coaches formulise in the next two games.”
Australia play Egypt tomorrow (August 29) with a win providing a great chance to secure a vital Quarter Final berth.
AUSTRALIA 14 JAPAN 13
AUSTRALIA: Damian Williams, Keenan Marsden (1), Charles Negus (2), Nicholas Elphick (6) Timothy Putt (1), Christian Kyriakau, Lucas Mackaway, Chaz Poot (2), Jed Thompson (2), Jack Marshall, Nicholas Porter.
Quarters: 1-3, 5-4, 4-1, 5-4
26 August, Podgorica, Montenegro: Australia’s Born 1998 team have gotten off toe the perfect start beating European heavyweights Spain 10-8.
Spain had recently finished second in the European Youth Championships but the Aussie’s executed their team play and the support of many parents helped get them across the line.
Coach Andrei Kovalenko spoke highly of the team’s effort to start the tournament with a win.
“We played well as a team today, the individual performances were for the betterment of the team and I feel we were able to show the pride and confidence this team has.”
“Special mention must go out to the parents and families who travelled to support the team and sent the boys individual messages of encouragement, this certainly got us over the line,” Kovalenko said.
The team proved they have what it takes to play against the worlds best and used the pre tournament practice tour to produce a fantastic opening round result.
“The boys were here to play today, there was pride and effort in today’s game,” Kovalenko said.
“What more can I say, it was a great game and a great win.
The team have a day off tomorrow to reload, they will meet Japan on August 28.
AUSTRALIA 10 SPAIN 8
AUSTRALIA: Damian Williams, Keenan Marsden (1), Sam Nangle, Nicholas Elphick (1) Timothy Putt (3), Lachlan Voss (1), Lucas Mackaway (1), Chaz Poot (2), Jed Thompson (1), Christian Kyriakau, Nicholas Porter.
Quarters: 3-2, 3-2, 2-4, 1-1