GOLD COAST AQUATIC CENTRE: The Australian Men’s Water Polo Team have booked their spot in Sunday’s gold medal final of the FINA World League Intercontinental Tournament, after a 12-8 win over USA tonight.
Today’s game is tipped to be a preview of the gold medal game on Sunday, with Australia likely to face off once more against the USA.
Leading his side from in front again was Aussie Captain Joe Kayes who scored four goals with fellow Rio Olympian Jarrod Gilchrist not far behind with three goals.
With scores locked 2-2 after the first quarter, the Aussies managed to take a narrow one-point lead at half time, 6-5. It was in the second half that the host team made their move to take the lead out to 9-6 t the end of the third quarter, coming home strong to get their fourth consecutive win of the Tournament.
The first major event since the Rio Olympic Games, both the Aussies and the USA have new look sides with Australia boasting five national team debutants.
While Australia were strong in their attacking game, they were equally strong in defence, with Goal Keeper Ed Slade producing many impressive saves.
“It was a good win, we played our systems pretty well and we made a good impression early on.
“We had a bit of a lapse in the second quarter but it was a real testament to the boys’ effort to come up, make a reply and get a few goals on the board – it was good hard work to get back in that place. I think our defence as a whole was really impressive,” said Slade.
“If we play the USA again on Sunday it will be completely different game, it will be a hard defensive game again and we just need to go back and review and look at what we did well and what we didn’t do well,” he said.
Australian Head Coach Elvis Fatovic agreed that the team can expect a different game if they face the USA again on Sunday.
“It will be a very different game on Sunday. We know both teams are so new, they both still have misunderstandings in the game, that is normal.
“I was especially happy with the second half of our game tonight – we started to play well in our defence and our attack was pretty sharp.
“When we came into this Tournament said we would focus on one game at a time, so for now we are focused on playing China tomorrow,” he said.
With only one game remaining in the preliminary games, Australia will take on China tomorrow at 3:30pm at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre.
The Aussies will need to wait until tomorrow to determine who they will play in the gold medal final, which will be played on Sunday 30 April at 12noon at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre.
AUS 12 – USA 8
AUS 12 PAVILLARD, Luke (1); KAYES, Joe (C) (4) POWER, Nathan (1) GILCHRIST, Jarrod (3) COTTERILL, John (1) FANNON, James (1) HOLLIS, Lachlan (1) USA 8 DAUBE, Hannes (2) OBERT, Alexander (1) DE TRANE, Matthew (1) HOOPER, Johnathan (1) EHRHARDT, Jacob (1) MOLTHEN, Ashworth (1) VAVIC, Manko (1)
QUARTERS (AUS-USA): 2-2, 4-3, 3-1, 3-2