Mental health front of mind when Jets host Breakers

In the OVO Mobile Australian Waterpolo League round seven live stream match FYFE Adelaide Jets will square off against Queensland Breakers as all AWL teams look to raise national awareness around mental health as part of the AWL mental health round.

FYFE Adelaide Jets women’s head coach Eddie Dennis believes the themed round is important to illustrate the benefits between sporting communities and mental health.

“It seems to be more and more an open conversation these days and it’s been shown there is a link between depression and anxiety being alleviated by exercising.

“There are more conversations and athletes are more open to discussing what is around which makes coaching clearer and you can have more adult like conversations which builds trust and harmony in the team,” he said.

Looking ahead at his matches this round, Dennis admits the Jets aren’t quite meeting their season goals yet but some pre-season injuries did not help.

“In terms of structure and cohesion we’re building nicely, the girls are working hard together and are committing to everything we’ve agreed on.

“We have moved forward in a lot of areas, but we’re still not at a level where we are really competitive with the strongest teams.

“We’ve got to find that belief, keep working together to have those breakthroughs this year and next year,” he said.

The Jets girls have been impressed with both of their imports Zoe Hille and Heather Laird.

“Heather won’t be in action this round, but she is a younger player from Perth playing in her first OVO AWL season, she is learning as she goes and is quite solid at centre forward considering her age and experience.

“Zoe on the other hand has had a couple of season for the Victoria Seals and in terms of energy for the group and her speed and defensive work she has been fantastic,” said Dennis.

Queensland Breakers women’s head coach Bronwen Knox explained what her team’s recruitment strategy was.

“Due to the fact we are in a building phase I wanted to give ample opportunity to younger girls coming through and allow the older girls to get valuable leaderships skills and make their mark,” she said.

With young guns Charlize Andrews and Kasey Williams out due to their respective Brisbane school competitions, Breakers will only be taking 12 players on their South Australian road trip.

“A smaller group of players presents plenty of opportunity for the girls to get more experience, but overall we’ll have a strong and simple game plan.

“Mikayla Thomas is coming along for her first trip and I would love to give her some game time it just depends on how we perform.

“We’ll look to take the energy from the plane straight into the pool,” she said.

As a three time Olympian, Knox is well qualified to speak about the connection between sport and mental health.

“I think it’s imperative to have open and honest communications about mental health, especially in sport, I think it is shied away from and it potentially can do a lot of damage to young people coming through.

“I think being honest and admitting you need help and having someone be an ear is a great especially within sport because everyone is there for the same reason and has the same competitive spirit.

I think embracing the conversations more can only be a good thing for individuals and the sport,” she said.

On the men’s side of the draw, Jets imports continue to impress with men’s head coach Dusan Damjanovic speaking highly of Montenegrin import Stefan Porobić.

“Stefan played with us last season and is a young relatively inexperienced player but consistently produces a high-quality game.

“He really fits the team really well and is a great lad. He does some junior coaching to develop the local water polo community,” he said.

Speaking about his team’s progress in season 2018, Damjanovic is quite happy with his Jets team.

“So far, I am happy with how team is developing, our game level is always on the rise, especially compared with last season.

“We need to still win the games away which is not easy but the main goal for this season was to just win as many games as we can. Last season we lost five or six games by one goal, so this season we want to be able to win those close games,” he said.

OVO AWL round seven is mental health round and Damjanovic knows how important it is to raise awareness for people from junior level right through to the elite level.

“Sport is generally a great thing for all generations, not just professional athletes. Playing sport is important for the body and the spirit.

“I think people who grow up in a family like sporting environment grow up to be more responsible and committed which can only be positive for their mental health,” he said.

The Jets opposition Queensland Breakers are coming off two tough defeats by the ACU Cronulla Sharks and men’s head coach Dmitry Gorshkov will be looking for a big team effort.

Breakers will be disappointed to not have Anthony Martin, Tyler Sinclair or Tom Hardy (suspension) with them, however will be looking to German import Bastian Schmellenkamp for a strong round.

“Bastian is playing well and will be important to our game plan, this round will provide him with some good learning experiences.

Gorshkov is keeping it simple when it comes to overcoming the travel challenge by suggesting his players might have a “little bit of coffee or sugar.”

To view full fixtures for this weekend, click here.

Can’t make it poolside? Watch it via OVO Play.

FYFE Adelaide Jets vs Queensland Breakers

Saturday March 17, South Australia Aquatic and Leisure Centre

Women’s match 4:30pm ACDT

Men’s match 6:00pm ACDT