Follow the Aussie Sharks at the FINA World League Super Final as they take on some of the top nations in Ruza, Russia.
Day 6 – Australia vs Japan
The Aussie Sharks finished their FINA Men’s Water Polo World League Super Final on a high with an 11-4 win over Japan. The team were disappointed by the yesterday’s defeat to Kazakhstan, and took the 7th place match-up as a way to improve on their mood and return the fighting spirit.
It took Aaron Younger just 22 seconds off the game’s start to kick off the glass with a power diagonal shot. 40 seconds later teammate Lachlan Edwards made the lead double, 2-0. Australians proceeded in the same path in the second quarter, managing the the famous Japanese full court pressing very well.
The gap was stretched to three goals as Ewards hit his second goal in the game. Kohei Inaba got his team on the scoreboard converting a fast counter attack and Atsuto Iida killed a man-up chance to be replied by two straight goals by Joseph Kayes, as the gap remained unchanged, 5-2 at half time.
Thanks to the flawless power play conversion (3/3), Australia increased their lead after the large break to 4 goals, 6-2, and then to six, 9-3. Aaron Younger hit a penalty nailing his third goal for the game and 19th for the Super final to go for the best scorer’s title. In the fourth period, with teammate Nicholas Brooks taking his 5m chance as well, as Atsuto Iida of Japan did not, 11-3. Japan could not match it with the Aussies on the final day of competition.
Australian Team Head Coach Elvis Fatovic said: “This is the first game at the tournament we played without too much stress. We controlled the game on that way that we did not offer them easy counter-attacks, which was the key in this game. They are the most dangerous team in the world if it is about counter-attacking. We also kept an eye on one-on-one game.
“Definitely we will have to improve a lot of things before the coming World Championships. We will work a little bit more to strengthen our conditions part, and we will play a tournament in Sicily featuring three more games and after that select the team for the trip to Budapest. Hopefully, there will be enough time to recover and also to do some technical and tactical drills so that we come to Budapest and present better than here,” he said.
AUS vs. JPN 11-4 (2-0, 3-2, 4-1, 2-1)
Extra Man: AUS 3/4 JPN 1/5
AUSTRALIA: Edward Slade, Timothy Putt, George Ford, Joseph Kayes (3), Nathan Power (1), Lachlan Edwards (2), Jarrod Gilchrist (1), Aaron Younger (2), Andrew Ford (1), James Fannon, Lachlan Hollis, Nicholas Brooks (1), Anthony Hrysanthos.
2016 FINA World League Super Final – Overall Results
1. Andelo Setka CRO – 19 goals
2. Aaron Younger AUS – 16 goals
3. Pietro Figliolo ITA – 15 goals
Daniil Merkulov RUS – 15 goals
4. Dusko Pietlovic SRB – 13 goals
Stefan Mitrovic SRB – 13 goals
Day 5 – Australia vs Kazakstan
In one of the closest games of the Tournament for the Aussie Sharks, the team fell short in a penalty shootout against Kazakstan to finish 11-12. Kazakstan came out strong to go up 4-0 in the first quarter leaving the Aussie Sharks to put up a tough fight to claw their way back into the game.
Aaron Younger put the Sharks on the scoreboard in the second quarter in the opening minutes, followed by another along with Timothy Putt taking a goal to put the Aussies within two goals, 3-5, at half time.
But Kazakhstan were eager to maintain their lead coming out aggressively in the second half to get their first goal courtesy of Rustam Ukumanov. The Sharks weren’t about to go down without a fight, with Lachy Hollis, Lachlan Edwards and Nathan Power all putting away goals to tie the game at 7-7 with three minutes left in regular time.
There raised a great pressure for goalkeepers, however, and only two more shots landed inside. Ukumanov was lucky to seal counter-attack with 01:45 remaining in the game, as his vis-à-vis Younger raised hands in the air celebrating the last hope extra man goal at 0.09 to the buzzer. With scores 8-8 the game moved into a penalty shoot-out.
Younger, Fannon and Ford of Australia converted their penalties as Brooks and Gilchrist could not. Medvedev was the only one in the penalty shooters pool of Kazakhstan, who lost his chance, and Pilipenko, Ukumanov, Verdesh and Turlykhanov got their names on the scoreboard, sealing the first and a very important win for their team.
Australian Head Coach Elvis Fatovic said: “We lost today, because we did not start well. Obviously we were not prepared enough for such a game. It was 4-0 for the opponent team after the first quarter, and it was pretty difficult to come back. In the third quarter we started to play more aggressively, press more and were more mobile. We levelled the score, but Kazakhstan won the shoot-out series. They have deserved the win,” said Fatovic.
AUS vs. KAZ 11-12 (0-4, 3-1, 1-2, 4-1, PSO 3-4)
Extra Man: AUS 4/13 KAZ 4/11
AUSTRALIA: Edward Slade (2), Timothy Putt, George Ford, Joseph Kayes (PSO 1), Nathan Power (1), Lachlan Edwards, Jarrod Gilchrist, Aaron Younger (3, PSO 1), Andrew Ford (PSO 1), James Fannon, Lachlan Hollis (2), Brooks Nicholas, Anthony Hrysanthos.
Day 4 – Australia vs Italy
Australian Shark’s Captain Aaron Younger hit opener for the first quarter-final game in Ruza a little less than two minutes after the start just to see reigning Olympic bronze medalists start to dominate. Very soon Italy’s captain Pietro Figlioli set the equalizer and got his team up, both in action, for 2-1. One minute later Valentino Gallo raised the gap to register the figures of the initial quarter, 3-1 for Italy.
Conceding one more by Michael Bodegas in the next period, Australians woke up and there was a good exchange of courtesies between the sides. Italians converted all their three powerplay chances, so did Aussie Shark Hollis, where his teammate George Ford, hit an action, punishing Marco del Lungo for his mistake, 7-3 after the first half.
The young side found it was difficult to stay competitive against a strong Italian outfit.
Defeating Australia, Italy confirmed their participation in the semi-final with Croatia as their next challenge. The Sharks are upset and hungry for wins, as on the penultimate competition day they will see Kazakhstan.
Speaking post match Younger commented: “We are young and inexperienced. Our opponents have had a lot of games like this and we are building a new team now towards the Olympics Games 2020 in Tokyo.
“However, it is not an excuse – we did not do what we were supposed to and the Italian team defeated us tactically. Games like this are a big part of experience and we will take this away and analyze them to get better.”
ITA vs. AUS 13-5 (3-1, 4-2, 4-1, 2-1)
Extra Man: ITA 4/7 AUS 2/7
AUSTRALIA : Edward Slade, Timothy Putt, George Ford (1), Joseph Kayes (1), Nathan Power, Lachlan Edwards, Jarrod Gilchrist, Aaron Younger (2), Andrew Ford, James Fannon, Lachlan Hollis (1), Brooks Nicholas, Anthony Hrysanthos.
Day 3 – Australia vs Croatia
Silver medalist of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan, Croatia remain one of the toughest team’s in the competition notching up it’s third straight win in Group B, defeating the Aussie Sharks 8-3.
Scoring three unanswered goals in the opening quarter (two of which came from Andelo Setka and one from Ivan Buljubasic), Ivica Tucak’s squad got the foot off the gas and seemed contented. Even though having young Ivan Marcelic instead of experienced Marko Bijac at the goals, Croats were in control of the situation.
In the second quarter, they had conceded just once in the man-down, as Nicholas Brooks of Ausralia killed his extra. Later on, they chose neither to score themselves nor to give chances for their opponents. Australia tried hard however, but were not as accurate finishing their attacks, with scores 3-1 at half time.
Overall Croatian team collected 9 out of 9 points and finished atop of the Group B. In the next clash for the semi-final’s birth they will see the scoreless team of Kazakhstan, landed on fourth in the Group A.
CRO vs. AUS 8-3 (3-0, 0-1, 3-0, 2-2)
Extra Man: CRO 3/9 AUS 2/7
AUSTRALIA: Edward Slade, Timothy Putt, George Ford, Joseph Kayes, Nathan Power (1), Lachlan Edwards, Jarrod Gilchrist, Aaron Younger (1), Andrew Ford, James Fannon, Lachlan Hollis, Nicholas Brooks (1), Anthony Hrysanthos.
Day 2 – Australia vs Japan
The Aussie Sharks bounced back after their day one defeat to notch up their first win in the preliminary rounds, taking a close 9-8 victory over Japan.
The Sharks got off to a strong start, hitting two goals within the first four minutes. Nathan Power and Aaron Younger collected their first goals for the game. But Japan responded in kind to tie things up as Atsushi Arai converted a penalty shot, then Inaba Kohei found a hole 2-2. One minute passed to see them up, Adachi Seiya was thanking Timothy Putt for the extra chance play, 2-3.
Jarrod Gilchrist hit an equalizer for 6-6 at the last break as Australians set up a zone defence to stay competitive. Trading four more goals, the teams came up tied, 8-8, with 3 minutes remaining. Kayes once again stepped up for the Aussies to for his fourth goal which secured the Sharks the 9 -8 win.
Speaking after the win Joe Kayes said: “We play them (Japan) very often and are familiar with their style. They are always it is very difficult and play a very different style of water polo, pressing a lot.
“They have good skills and are good players. We have won the race, and tomorrow we will have a better fighting spirit, which will be very important in the clash against Croatia,” he said.
AUS vs. JPN 9-8 (2-3, 2-0, 2-3, 3-2)
Extra Man: AUS 2/5 JPN 3/6
Penalty shots: AUS 0/0 JPN 1/1
AUSTRALIA : Edward Slade, Timothy Putt, George Ford, Joseph Kayes (4), Nathan Power (1), Lachlan Edwards, Jarrod Gilchrist (1), Aaron Younger (3), Andrew Ford, James Fannon, Lachlan Hollis, Brooks Nicholas, Anthony Hrysanthos.
Day 1 – Australia vs Russia
It was a new look Aussie Sharks that lined up for the FINA World League Super Final, with fresh talent joining the ranks as the Aussies prepared to take on hosts Russia in front of a packed house. The Russians came out firing, spurred on from the loud home crowd.
The Aussie Sharks were off to a strong start, with Captain Aaron Younger opening the scoring for the Australians. Russia were quick to respond with Merkulov goal with both side going one more time both exchanged hitting, 2-2 at the end of the first quarter.
There came a big five minutes draught as neither side was lucky scoring, which finished as Russian Roman Shepelev converted extra and Nikolay Lazarev followed up. Younger was the only argument for Australia to stay on tune, 3-4 before half time.