The new look OVO Australian Waterpolo League is back for it’s 29th year in 2018, as 11 teams from around the country get ready to battle it out in the country’s premier water polo competition.
Download the OVO Australian Waterpolo League draw –Click here
The first round, the Cole Miller round, will hold special meaning for water polo community as it will remember former Brisbane Barracudas player Cole. The young aspiring water polo player tragically lost his life as the victim of one punch assault. All clubs will honour the Cole Miller round retiring the number 10 cap – Cole’s cap number.
OVO Mobile have come on board as the naming rights partner of the Australian Waterpolo League and will be streaming a feature game every weekend across OVO Play, with OVO customers able to watch all the action data free.
The opening round on OVO Play will be the Western Derby with the Fremantle Mariners/Marlins at home to cross town rivals UWA Torpedoes.
WATCH – OVO Play.
Women’s: 18:00 (WA) 21:00 (AEDT)
Men’s: 20:00 (WA) 23:00 (AEDT)
After finishing second place in the 2017 final, the Marlins will be one’s to watch, with new Head Coach Bridgette Ireland at the helm.
“Our preparation has been good, we have had a reshuffle of the senior players as we don’t have the Olympians in the squad this year (such as Zoe Arancini and Glencora McGhie),” said Team Manager Ebony Brown.
“The younger players have had to step up, and they have made a really good leadership group given this opportunity.
“Bridgette is a new coach for the team, which is great in regards to team dynamics. An inductee of the swimming hall of fame and a gold medal Olympian, the team are really playing off this well.
“We have had the transition of the two Olympians from the squad and last year we also had an import player in centre forward. We do not have an import with us this year in this position, so we have worked on the outer attacking players to gain our advantage as oppose to the centre forward approach that was taken in previous years,” she said.
“The team’s preparation has been a lot better than last year, given the additional preparation time into the season,” said Schwieckle.
“We have lost a couple of players, our goal keeper moved to Hungary for example, so it hasn’t been easy. I feel we have recruited well, and we are very much a youth and development team moving forward through the season looking to grow as the season goes on.
“AWL is the highest ranked competition that can be played in Australia, so there is a lot of pressure for the youngsters, so we will see how the team handle that as we go,” he said.
For UWA Torpedoes Men’s Coach, Florian Naroska, he is also pleased with the pre-season the team has had leading into the 2018 season.
“The players are fit, lots of swimming in the morning, water polo in the afternoon. We have had warm up games against Freo so I don’t think there will be any surprises in the opening round, but you never know on the day,” said Naroska.
“We have two new imports players (one from Japan, one USA) but the main squad is still the same.
“It is good to start the season playing against Freo. The derby is always special, the players, spectators and everyone involved are all very excited.
“The team are pretty relaxed, every year is a new season, there are new tactics, new game plans, new players so it is hard to say who will come out on top.
“We have a new game plan this season, the new game plans take time to develop fully, they need to play to their individual strengths as well. Most importantly for the team this year, we need to play as a team, you win as a team and lose as a team, and so the team spirit is important,” he said.
For Fremantle Mariners there is a lot to play for, with 2018 marking 20 years since they won their first national league title in 1998.
“Preparation going really well, a bit of a change this year as it’s the first year with me as the coach – but there is renewed energy to achieve better results for the team, and as a consequence, training has been good.
“A couple of injuries have riddled through the team, but everyone seems to be recovering well and they are hoping to start the season at full strength.
“The mix is very similar to the previous season with the return of Olympian Joel Swift looking fit and strong post injury; he will play a key role in the success of the team. General lift in approach from everyone, so we think it’s a good decision to have maintained the team structure coming into this season,” he said.
For full round one draw Click here and see below.