Aussie Sharks have finished the 2017 FINA World Championships on a high, defeating Russia 10-7 to claim 7th place overall.
A strong finish to the two week Tournament has put the young, new Aussie Sharks side in good stead for the start to their Tokyo 2020 Olympic cycle.
Australian Men’s Head Coach, Elvis Fatovic said it is good to come away with the win and finish seventh overall, a feat the Sharks have not done since the 2003 World Championships.
“We are very happy to have won our last match in the tournament. To have reached seventh place, with this young team is a big success,” said Fatovic.
“We are aware of the fact that we can do a lot better and in the coming years and we will work hard to come close to the teams that are in front of us.
“I don’t think it’s impossible, because I felt that we have been getting better with every match we played, and the last two ones have definitely been our best ones,” he said.
Dual Olympian and Aussie Sharks Captain Aaron Younger, led his team from in front throughout the Tournament, using his second home Hungary to his advantage.
“It was a good game. With a win like this we are really happy and I think the seventh place is good for our team, which is still quite new and young.
“It is a good start for us towards Tokyo, the tournament has been great, I think, one of the best World Championships. We are going to keep building from here,” said Younger.
The Aussie Sharks looked in control throughout the game against Russia, with both teams coming out eager to secure the win.
Within the first minute of play both teams had scored, the Aussie Sharks goal coming courtesy of Lachy Edwards. Jarrod Gilchrist followed up for Australia getting the goal from a deflected block.
Russia then pounced to lock in another goal with five minutes left in the quarter. However the Aussie Sharks made the most of their extra man opportunities with both Nathan Power and Lachlan Hollis scoring. With one more goal from Russia the Aussie Sharks maintained a narrow lead, 4-3, at the end of the first.
The second quarter saw Russia even up the scores early on in extra man – but Edwards with a lovely backhand goal from centre forward put the Aussies ahead once more. Russia maintained the pressure to again even the score with just over three minutes left in the quarter. It was Joe Kayes from the four metre in extra man that kept Australia in the lead at half time, 6-5.
As the third quarter got underway it was young gun Tim Putt that extended the Aussie Sharks lead to 7-5 with an outside goal. Captain Aaron Younger followed up thanks to an assist from Gilchrist, taking that lead out to 8-5.
Russia were eager not to let the Australia run away with the game, scoring from outside to close the gap to 8-6. But another Younger goal on the counter put Australia ahead 9-6 at the end of the third.
Andrew Ford was quick off the mark for Australia in the final quarter, scoring in extra man to extend his side to a four point lead. With both sides putting up a strong defensive quarter, there was only one more goal to come from the Russians in extra man, giving the win to Australia 10-7.
RUSSIA 7 AUSTRALIA 10
Quarters: 3-4, 2-2, 1-3, 1-1
Referees: Stanko Ivanovski (MNE), Frank Ohme (GER).
Extra Man: RUS: 0/10. AUS: 4/7.
AUSTRALIA: Edward Slade, Timothy Putt (1), George Ford, Joseph Kayes (1), Nathan Power (1), Lachlan Edwards (2), Jarrod Gilchrist (1), Aaron Younger (2), Andrew Ford (1), James Fannon, Lachlan Hollis (1), Nicholas Brooks, Anthony Hrysanthos. Head Coach: Elvis Fatovic.
RUSSIA: Kirill Korneev, Nikolay Lazarev, Egor Vasilyev, Nikita Dereviankin (1), Alexey Bugaychuk, Artem Ashaev, Daniil Merkulov (2), Ivan Nagaev, Ivan Suchkov, Dmitrii Kholod (3), Sergey Lisunov (1), Roman Shepelev, Vitaly Statsenko. Head Coach: Sergey Evstigneev.