The Australian and USA water polo teams faced off in the first of two test matches today at Kawana Water Aquatic Centre on the Sunshine Coast, with the visitors claiming victories in both matches.
In entertaining matches for local fans, the Aussie Stingers and Aussie Sharks competed hard all day against aggressive USA teams who started both matches strongly.
Aussie Stingers regrouped after a 6-1 halftime deficit and began playing to their systems and fought back to win the second half 6-4.
However, it was not enough for Aussie Stingers head coach Sakis Kechagias and his team going down 10-7 at the full-time siren.
Kechagias was pleased with his team’s efforts admitting these test matches are part of an overall process.
“In the game there were some good moments and some bad moments which we need to correct, but it is a process to 2020 (Tokyo) and process takes a long time.
“We will analyse the video and see what we can correct for tomorrow, you can’t correct everything overnight so our focus will be to see what is the most important thing we have to improve,” he said.
Aussie Stingers captain and Rio Olympian Zoe Arancini hails from Perth and was impressed with the local support on display.
“It was fantastic to have so much support, it was a big turnout for a Thursday in the middle of the day considering it’s not even Good Friday yet.
“Having former players here like Kelsey Wakefield watching, the local community, schools and fans getting a few autographs is always fun.
“Tomorrow, we will be working on our defence, playing more of a press, as well as our extra man attack,” she said.
The Aussie Sharks were physically overwhelmed by USA who came out firing converting their physicality into a 4-2 halftime lead.
Aussie Sharks head coach Elvis Fatovic was critical of how his team began match but believes they can turn it around for tomorrow’s second test match.
“The main problem started from the beginning, we were not sharp enough with our defence, which meant we were not sharp enough in attack, they created opportunities too easily and punished us.
“If we are sharp in defence we know we can be better in attack because we are more relaxed but that wasn’t there from the beginning today.
“I know for us the key is defence and we were not good in that, we will try to push them a little more to make them tired and then they will struggle with some things. We will have to do better tomorrow,” he said.
Aussie Sharks captain and Olympian Joe Kayes believes his side will improve and learn from this match.
“We’re just getting our systems back in play and a couple of the boys haven’t been in the squad since Rio so we’re a little disjointed and trying to get flow in our play back, confidence in the young boys and more energy on the ball.
“It’s always painful to lose any game, we’ve been training really hard and this is a good stepping stone to our ultimate goal for the World Cup in September. We have to keep our heads up and our energy levels high,” he said.
Australia v USA Second Test Match
Friday March 30
Kawana Aquatic Centre
Tickets are available at the gate for just $5 for adults and $2 for children.
Alternatively, Friday’s test matches will also be live streamed via OVOPlay.