The National Water Polo League (NWPL) finals will be held in Melbourne in 2016, following a joint announcement between Water Polo Australia, the Victorian Seals and the Victorian Government earlier today.
In what has been labelled a coup for Victorian sport, Australia’s best water polo athletes will descend on Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre (MSAC) from March 11-13, 2016 to battle for the respective men’s and women’s premierships.
Victorian Sports Minister Mr John Eren said that securing the NWPL finals helped keep Victoria the number one destination for major sporting events.
“This is a great opportunity for Victorians to come along and support our most talented water polo stars at the peak of their game in the lead up to the Rio Olympics”, Minister Eren said.
“The Andrews Labor Government is committed to growing Victoria’s $21 billion tourism and events industry through Visit Victoria, our new body which will sell Victoria to the world like never before.”
The move to Victoria is the culmination of hard work by both the Victorian Seals, who have been in existence for just two short NWPL seasons, and Water Polo Victoria to grow the sport, with President of the Seals, Steve Blunt, highlighting increased participation in recent years.
“Water Polo has gone from strength to strength in recent years, with a 10% growth in participation and we’re very excited to be hosting this competition’s showpiece event, particularly in an Olympic year,” Blunt said.
“The support from the Victorian State Government in bringing the NWPL Finals to Melbourne has been fantastic and we’re thrilled that the Government recognises the important role water polo has to play in the national sporting landscape.”
Water Polo Australia CEO Chris Harrison added that the NWPL is the top echelon of water polo competition in Australia, while also praising the Victoria’s only NWPL club for their commitment to the league over the past two years.
“The National Water Polo League is our premier domestic competition. It’s origins lie in providing our National team athletes a competitive platform to prepare them for both tough sustained competition and then touring overseas with the respective National teams,” Harrison said.
“It has been a pleasure in being present at the previous successful games that the Victorian Seals have hosted, such as the Beyond Blue cup, there is no doubt that the sport is in a better place because of these efforts of the committed individuals in the Seals.”
Although the Seals are relative newcomers to the National League, the NWPL has a rich history in Victoria, with former national league clubs the Richmond Tigers and Victorian Tigers claiming six premierships between them since the beginning of the competition in 1990.
Water Polo Australia’s Manager, Events and Competitions, Noel Harrod was proud to be able to award the finals to MSAC for the first time, the decision ensuring that the finals will have been hosted by three different cities in three years following Brisbane in 2014 and Sydney earlier this year.
“Bringing the NWPL finals to MSAC is a testament to the outstanding organisational ability of the Victorian Seals, who, in their short life of two seasons have become a very professional club,” Harrod said.
“The venue was the home of the 2007 FINA World Championships and is one of the premier aquatic centres in Australia.
“The NWPL is proud to have allocated the 2015/16 Finals to Melbourne.”