A new look Australian Women’s Water Polo team finished seventh place at the FINA World League Super Final in China after a 10-8 win over Japan.
The Tournament was the first major test for the new look Aussie Stingers that featured many new faces to the Senior side.
New Head Coach Sakis Kechagias was pleased with his side’s final game of the Tournament, but admitted the team has a lot of areas to focus on ahead of the FINA World Championships next month in Budapest, Hungary.
“It was a good game for us on both sides. We remained in the game in the last quarter when Japan came back.
“It was good for us. We have other things to correct and work on. It is the beginning of a process (newly appointed coach) and we will try to get better.”
Australian Team Captain Rowie Webster celebrated her 250th Australian Team cap during the Tournament, a huge milestone for the dual Olympian.
“Capping up for my first Australian Senior Women’s was a dream come true as a 17 year old. Reflecting on my career this far and to be honoured in the 250 club is a pretty special moment. Not to mention that my first cap and 250th cap were both played in China,” said Webster.
“My journey with the Aussie Stingers has taught me that hard work, consistency and a love for the game can take you long way and I can’t wait for the challenges that are ahead for me as an individual and for this team,” she said.
The last game of the Tournament against Japan saw the result come down to the final minute, with Japan given two opportunities in the last 90 seconds.
The Aussie Stingers got off to a commanding 4-1 lead against Japan, but they were forced to dig deep to bring home the win.
Captain Webster once again lead her side from the front, with an impressive five goals throughout the game to ensure the Stingers remained in front. Rio Olympian Lea Yanitsas returned to the team in China and proved invaluable in goals, managing to stop a barrage of Japanese shots.
The side will now need to regroup ahead of the FINA World Championships which kicks off on the 16 July in Budapest where they will meet Russia, Kazakstan and Greece in the preliminary rounds.
AUSTRALIA: Lilian Hedges, Amy Ridge (1), Elle Armit (1), Bronte Halligan (2), Julia Barton, Alice Williams, Rowie Webster (5), Jessica Zimmerman, Kelly O’Leary, Chloe Barr, Morgan Baxter, Madeleine Steere (1), Lea Yanitsas.
Classification 7-8, JAPAN 8 AUSTRALIA 10
Quarters: 2-5, 3-2, 2-1, 1-2
Extra Man: JPN: 2/6. AUS: 3/4.
5-8 Semifinal, NETHERLANDS 9 AUSTRALIA 5
Quarters: 2-1, 2-1, 2-1, 3-2
Extra Man: NED: 2/6. AUS: 2/7.
Quarterfinal UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 13 AUSTRALIA 4
Quarters: 3-1, 5-2, 3-1, 2-0
Extra Man: USA: 5/6. AUS: 3/5.
GAME 3 – Group B, HUNGARY 8 AUSTRALIA 3
Quarters: 3-1, 3-0, 0-2, 2-0
Extra Man: HUN: 2/9. AUS: 0/5.
GAME 2 – Group B, AUSTRALIA 4 CANADA 8
Quarters: 0-2, 3-2, 0-2, 1-2
Penalties: AUS: 0/1. CAN: 1/1.
Extra Man: AUS: 0/5. CAN: 2/5.
GAME 1 – Group B, AUSTRALIA 10 CHINA 14
Quarters: 3-4, 1-3, 3-3, 3-4
Extra Man: AUS: 4/6. CHN: 4/8.