17 July 2017, Budapest, Hungary: The Aussie Stingers have kicked off the FINA World Championships in style with a convincing 16-4 win over Kazakhstan in game one.
Coming up against a fast Kazakhstan side, the Aussie Stingers dominated from the outset, slowing down the game and taking control from the opening quarter.
Under new Head Coach Sakis Kechagias, it was a strong performance from the Australians who fielded a new-look team with five debutants.
Starting in her second World Championships, Bronte Halligan was pleased with the team’s efforts.
“The game was really good. A game against Kazakhstan is always going to be a bit rushed.
“They are a team similar to Russia, a lot of splitting, defence and lot of counter attack – we looked to slow them down a bit and to push our counters.
“To get up 16-4 is a really good win, to keep any team to four goals is what we’re looking to do,” said Halligan.
Leading her side from in front with an impressive five goals, dual Olympian and Captain Rowie Webster said the team stuck to their game plan which delivered a strong result.
“It was a nice way to start. We went out there to control the game from the get go and that’s what we did.
“I’m really proud of all the players, because everyone hit the water.
“For the debutants it’s a really nice way to start their Tournament off and looking forward to building on that performance come Russia in two days time,” said Webster.
Webster netted two goals in the opening quarter along with debutant Madeline Steere and fellow Olympian Zoe Arancini to take a 4-1 lead at the end of the first.
Arancini returns to the Stingers side after recovering from a broken finger she sustained recently prior to the FINA World League Finals.
It was Webster, Steere and Arancini again the second quarter, along with Buckling, that gave the Aussies a solid 8-2 lead at half time.
Also re-joining the Aussie Stingers since the Rio Olympics is goal keeper Lea Yanitsas, who was formidable in goals.
The second half saw the Australians come home even stronger, with Webster and fellow Rio team mates Gofers and Bishop scoring a goal each along with debutant Amy Ridge.
Solid defence from the Aussies kept Kazakstan scoreless in the final quarter and they were able to steam home with the convincing 16-4 win, with final quarter goals from the Aussies courtesy of Webster, Arancini, Bishop and Gofers.
Australia will now take on Russia in game two of the preliminary rounds:
18 JULY 2017
AUSTRALIA – RUSSIA (PRELIMINARY ROUND)
Budapest, Hungary 17:30 – 18:35
19 July – Sydney, Australia 01:30 – 02:35
To watch live – https://www.finatv.live
Follow live Twitter updates – @WaterpoloAus
AUSTRALIA 16 KAZAKHSTAN 4
Quarters: 4-1, 4-1, 4-2, 4-0
Extra Man: AUS: 1/1. KAZ: 0/1.
AUSTRALIA: Lea Yanitsas, Keesja Gofers (2), Hannah Buckling (1), Bronte Halligan, Isobel Bishop (2), Amy Ridge (1), Rowie Webster (5), Jessica Zimmerman, Zoe Arancini (3), Lena Mihailovic, Morgan Baxter, Madeleine Steere (2), Lilian Hedges. Head Coach: Athanasios Kechagias.
KAZAKHSTAN: Alexandra Zharkimbayeva, Sivilya Raiter, Aizhan Akilbayeva (1), Anna Turova, Kamila Zakirova (2), Darya Roga, Anna Nivikova, Oxana Saichuk, Anastassiya Yeremina, Zamira Myrabekova, Anastassiya Mirshina (1), Assem Mussarova, Azhar Alibayeva. Head Coach: Andrey Sazykin.