The water polo community came together to kick off the 2017 National Water Polo League in a special way, remembering Brisbane Barracudas player Cole Miller who was tragically killed in 2016.
The ‘Cole Miller Round’ remembered the young player in a way truly benefiting – with outstanding games of water polo, the game he loved.
Clubs around the country paid tribute, retiring Cole’s cap #10 poolside as well as marking one-minute silence. The support was felt across the country through players and supporters sharing #rememberingcole.
Miller’s Club, the Brisbane Barracudas, played in front of huge home crowds and were able to honour their lost team mate in a befitting way, with both the men’s and women’s sides taking two from two wins against the Hunter Hurricanes.
The Barracudas Women’s Goal Keeper and Rio Olympian Kelsey Wakefield, produced an outstanding opening game on Friday night to keep the Hurricanes scoreless.
For all women’s games results click here.
“It was a really pleasing start of our National Water Polo League campaign. To keep a team to zero goals is really great.
“Our defence worked really well and were able to build into our attack.
“Today was a really special day, the first game of the year where we were playing for Cole. It was great to be able to play well for him,” said Wakefield.
In the southern States it was a touring UWA Torpedoes men’s and women’s sides that had a flawless start to their season, winning four from four games.
After their first stop in Adelaide against the Jets, it was then onto Melbourne where the side faced the newly formed ‘WPA Barbarians’ who replaced the Victorian Seals side that withdrew from the 2017 competition.
Defending Champions in the Men’s competition, UWA Torpedoes got their series defence off to a bang. It was an equally special start to the year for UWA captain Luke Quinlivan, who celebrated a milestone 300 National Water Polo League games.
For all men’s games results click here.
“The odd things is, that some of my team mates were only one or two years old when I played my first NWPL game. That’s probably been the biggest eye opening thing of it all!
“It was very special to come here, play and get the win. This will be my last season, my hips are starting to age along with everything else.
“It has been a very special time, I’ve enjoyed the journey, I’ve played with some great guys, made some great friends. I love water polo and I’ll miss it – this has been a very special milestone,” said Quinlivan.
The last minute withdrawal of the Victorian Seals saw the formation of the WPA Barbarians, offering Victorian athletes the opportunity to compete in the NWPL for 2017. A temporary solution for this season (see WPA full media statement), coaches, support staff and supporters rallied around the athletes to ensure Victorian athletes they were able to start.
Sydney 2000 Olympic Gold Medallist Jo Clark, stepped in to coach the women’s Barbarian side, pleased with her team’s efforts despite going down to a strong UWA side.
“The team did really well and I’m really proud of all the girls. They hopped in gave it a really good fight and went out there strong. UWA bought their game today.
“The girls are just happy to playing because they love the sport and we’re grateful to have the opportunity to play,” said Clark.
The 2016 Women’s Series Winners Sydney University Lions have also started the season with a perfect record, taking two from two wins against the Fremantle Marlins.
In 2017 Water Polo Australia has introduced Facebook Live Streaming for games throughout the season. Round 2 feature matches will be:
Sunday 22 January
1:00pm (Syd time): UNSW Killer Whales vs Qld Breakers (Womens)
2:30pm (Syd time): UNSW West Magpies vs Qld Breakers (Mens)
Wednesday 18 January WPA will also have streamed on Facebook the National Water Polo League show providing a full wrap up of round one and preview ahead of the second round. The program will feature commentator Michael Westdorp and Olympians AJ Roach and Debbie Watson. Stay tuned for more details!
Round One Results
Men’s Fixtures – click here.
Women’s Fixtures – click here.