The Queensland Breakers will host their third Sydney team in as many rounds when they take on the ACU Cronulla Sharks for the round six OVO Australian Waterpolo League which will be streamed live.
Queensland Breakers men’s head coach Dmitry Gorshkov is aware of the Sharks strength and power but admits his team, with an average age of 21, will learn from this round.
“We’re still growing, we are building because the team is young, the bench is young, for a lot of these players this is their first AWL season,” he said.
Beijing Olympian Anthony Martin is the Breakers eldest player at 32, with 25 year old Oliver Chambers the next eldest.
“Our oldest player is Anthony, he usually plays home matches and we miss his experience when we travel away from home. He is a core player in attack and defence for our team,” he said.
As it is Gorshkov’s first season at the helm for the Breakers, besides Queensland’s relentless heat and humidity he has adjusted and focused on injecting culture and structure into his team.
“If we can produce good discipline, play with vision in attack, use all of our possession during the game, I think we have a chance to make a good game of it,” he said.
Gorshkov has played against opposition coach Predag Mihailovic two times during his playing days in Russia.
Gorshkov was playing for Russian club Sintez when he faced off against Mihailovic’s Turkish team.
“That’s how we met, two games against each other.
“We are friends and both of us like sports and we both want to win, he is from Serbia so I can imagine what coaching style he has,” said Gorshkov.
The ACU Cronulla Sharks men’s team head to Brisbane without injured players Blake Buckley and dual Olympian Aidan Roach.
ACU Cronulla Sharks men’s head coach Predag Mihailovic also spoke about taking on opposition coach and Russian friend Dmitry Gorshkov.
“During the game we aren’t friends but after the game we are friends again.
“I know his coaching style so we might adapt our game to that style a little bit, but we are really focusing on ourselves and performing well,” he said.
Mihailovic’s players have been preparing for their first of four matches on the road and aren’t looking to Friday’s game until tonight’s match has concluded.
“I asked my team last night to start mentally preparing for today’s game.
“Today we’ll get off the plane, we’ll have meeting and then start preparing for the game.
“We are only focusing on our first game against Breakers tonight, tomorrow we will think about Brisbane Barracudas,” he said.
Queensland Breakers women’s player and head coach Bronwen Knox speaks positively about the continual improvement in her young Breakers team with an average age of 20.
“We’re developing good team dynamics, really trying to focus on improving every game.
“We are focusing on making the most of our opportunities, choosing the right option at the end, capitalising on our shooting opportunities and generally just having the confidence to go out there and do what we need to,” she said.
Knox singled out the danger pair Amy Ridge and Kiara Holden who have played a lot of junior representative water polo together, but is positive what a game like this can teach her girls.
“The Sharks have been together for a couple of years and are pretty strong with a good base of connections.
“We need to start well and make sure we stick to our game plan,” she said.
Speaking about juggling the tricky role of player coach, Knox has a strategy that has proven to work well.
“It’s definitely hard, but I put a lot of trust in Kate Swete Kelly (team manager) and Amanda Leeson-Smith (assistant coach) and constantly bounce ideas off them.”
Reflecting at the situation some of her girls are in now which is young and playing tough AWL matches, Knox was fortunate to learn off some of the very best when she was in their shoes.
“I was really lucky in my first season, I was playing with half the national squad which included Amy Hetzel, Suzie Fraser and the likes.
“It was fantastic to learn off them and it was really great to watch them and train with them without the pressure of games.
“The games were so much faster than anything I had ever seen,” she said.
Knox herself will be in the pool this week and is enjoying being back from a recent ankle injury.
For ACU Cronulla Sharks women’s head coach Bec Rippon has a strategy when it comes to managing travel and competing.
“I think everyone has their own way, it’s not a big flight but it is still a long day so we have to get moving straight away and not sit around getting tired after the travel.
“Our main thing will be to do a very thorough warm up,” she said.
After going down in a tough match last Sunday, Rippon’s team was disappointed but also looking to take away the positives.
“When you’re leading like that and you’re in a position you can win it’s disappointing, but it was a positive turn around from the week before and great to see some of the girls step up.
“A little bit of experience got us in the end,” she said.
Touching on her general thoughts about the OVO AWL at the halfway point, Rippon was honest in her team’s position.
“Its proven to be a tough fight for last few spots which is the position we find ourselves in at the moment.
“We have to chip away at getting the results we have to get. We have got do our job day after day,” she said.
To view full fixtures for this weekend, click here.
Can’t make it down to Valley Pool? Watch it via OVO Play:
Queensland Breakers vs ACU Cronulla Sharks
Saturday March 10, Valley Pool
Women’s match 6:00pm AEST
Men’s match 7:30pm AEST