Heading into the 2018 OVO Australian Waterpolo League Finals Series, minor premiers UNSW Wests Killer Whales and Sydney University Lions Men’s side, are determined to carry the momentum through and come out on top.
For the first time in their history, Killer Whales finished first in the women’s premiership, narrowly ahead of cross town rivals Drummoyne Devils by one point.
The Killer Whales new recruits including co-captain Olympian Lea Yanitsas (Rio Olympian) along with the depth in their junior talent that have risen through the Club ranks, including Captain Daisy Carter, has proved a formidable mix.
In the last two seasons, Yanitsas co-captained Sydney University Lions women for back-to-back premierships, but now finds herself back at the club where it all began.
“I came back due to a number of factors. My husband is the men’s head coach so it is lovely to be at the same pool at the same day and Wests was also the place where a lot of the girls I grew up with and first played water polo with.
“If I do play my old team, for me it would be like any other water polo game.
“I still love those girls, but when you play water polo I want it to be a contest, I love the competition, so I would want both of us to have our best games,” she said.
Co-captain and Wests member since the age of 12, Daisy Carter has never contemplated playing for another club.
“We are so happy and excited right now. But we’re not satisfied either, we’re going to do our best to win it because a lot of people have made so many sacrifices,” said Carter.
“In past years, at the end of the season we have been counting points trying to do the math for our team to make it and jumping into the pool stressed.
“A lot of girls have stayed around the club and have waited for this for a very long time,” said Carter.
“We are all looking forward to it and so excited, we have some players who have big game experience and then girls who are playing in their first finals which will mean they might play with no fear,” she said.
In the men’s competition, Sydney University Lions cemented the minor premiership before the final round finishing 19 points clear of Hunter Hurricanes in second place. Captain Michael Rosenthal said his side is focused ahead of a tough Finals Series.
“The message from our coach was not to be satisfied, we’ve won it (the minor Premiership) before but haven’t won the Finals Series for a couple of years now.
“Everybody involved with the club has been making a lot of sacrifices throughout the season,” he said.
Rosenthal credits a positive team building session prior to the season which resulted in their undefeated record.
“We had a long, facilitated team discussion about expectations, habits and behaviours which was a really powerful exercise for our team.
“It set the tone of what we were expecting from everyone and there have been instances which we have tested that throughout the season.
“Everyone has played a really important role in our success. Anthony (Hrysanthos) in goals has been so important, American import Ben (Stevenson) scores clutch goals, Goran (Tomasevic) is always a force at centre forward and Johnno (Cotterill) is our Olympian with lots of water polo experience.”
“But then everyone else fills out the roster, giving us a dangerous and well-balanced team where anybody can have a big game on their day,” he said.
Don’t miss your chance to catch all the OVO Australian Waterpolo League Finals Series kick starting on Friday 4 May at Sydney Olympic Park.
Check out our complete guide to the OVO AWL Finals Series including tickets and OVOPlay live streaming details – click here.